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Garmin Forerunner 620 In-Depth Review

Garmin FR620 Front Shot

The Garmin FR620 is Garmin’s newest and most advanced running GPS watch.  The unit packs in everything from WiFi to ANT+ to Bluetooth Smart, and adds a slew of new metrics and functionality.  But are these new metrics a fair trade for some of the older functionality that’s been removed?

And quite simply, is it worth the cash over the FR220 which costs roughly half as much?  Especially once you consider needing the new FR620’s HRM-Run strap to take advantage of all the new features.

As for the FR220 In-Depth review, that’s now available here.

Because I want to be transparent about my reviews – Garmin provided both beta and final production FR620’s, with this review being written on the basis of the final production hardware + software (some photos were taken during the software beta period of course).  As always, in the next little bit I’ll be sending them back to Garmin and then going out and getting my own (to be able to support y’all in the comments section down the road). Simple as that. Sorta like hiking in wilderness trails – leave only footprints. If you find my review useful, you can use any of the Amazon or Clever Training links from this page to help support future reviews.

Lastly, at the end of the day keep in mind I’m just like any other regular athlete out there. I write these reviews because I’m inherently a curious person with a technology background, and thus I try and be as complete as I can. But, if I’ve missed something or if you spot something that doesn’t quite jive – just let me know and I’ll be happy to get it all sorted out. Also, because the technology world constantly changes, I try and go back and update these reviews as new features and functionality are added – or if bugs are fixed.

So – with that intro, let’s get into things.


Before we can use the thing, we’ve got to get it all unboxed.

Garmin FR620 In box

There’s an outer shell which protects the inner stuff.  Below the watch are all the accessories.

Garmin FR620 In box

Garmin FR620 Unboxed

Here would be those accessories, or rather, the contents of the box.  On the left we’ve got the power cable, in the middle we have the watch plus the HRM-Run pod, then the manual, and then finally the heart rate strap that connects to the HRM-Run transmitter pod.

Garmin FR620 Unboxed

With the plastic removed, you’ve got the below situation:

Garmin FR620 Unboxed Parts

As you’ll see in later sections, the FR620 is much lighter than its predecessor – the FR610.  It’s also just a touch bit slimmer than it as well, owing in part because the band goes completely flush with the unit when placed on a flat service – versus the FR610 having a portion of the GPS antenna in that area causing a bit more of a bump.

Garmin FR620 Charging Clip

Garmin FR620 Charging Clip

As you can see, the FR620’s charger is completely different than previous Garmin Forerunner chargers, and isn’t really compatible with any other devices in the lineup either.  It’s a bit better than the FR610’s charger, but I find the FR220 charger much more secure in that it clips on and can be swung around without fear of the charger falling off.

Garmin FR620 Charging Clip

Next we’ve got the new HRM-Run strap.  This is perhaps one of the most important pieces to being able to take advantage of all the new FR620 functionality.

Garmin HRM-Run Strap

Inside the HRM-Run transmitter pod (which has the little running man icon) there’s an accelerometer which measures movement, enabling new Running Dynamics metrics which I cover in a later section.  This is all in addition to traditional HR metrics such as beats per minute.

Garmin HRM-Run Strap

Garmin HRM-Run Strap

Also worth pointing out is that while the pod is new, Garmin has stated that they’ve continued to make minor tweaks to the strap itself – trying to further minimize HR spike/dropout issues.  Additionally, more work has been done around that within the pod as well (above and beyond what the HRM3 offers).

Garmin HRM-Run Strap

Finally, the last item within the box is the Getting Started guide.

Garmin FR620 Instructions

With that, let’s dive into some of the comparisons with other units on the market.

Size Comparisons & Weights:

Next up lets compare how the size of the Garmin FR620 is to that of other units in the same general price and functionality range.

First we’ve got the standard rolling pin side view.  You’ll notice that for the most part the GPS units these days are all roughly in the same size arena.  It’s only the ones to the far left that are a bit bigger – the Adidas Smart Run GPS and the Suunto Ambit 2s.  And, at the far right side you’ve got the lightest and smallest of the bunch, the Magellan Echo.  Except that doesn’t have GPS in it but rather depends on your phone’s GPS.

Garmin FR620 Size Comparison

(From left to right: Adidas Smart Run GPS, Suunto Ambit 2s, Garmin FR610, Garmin FR620, Polar RC3, TomTom Runner/Multisport, Timex Run Trainer 2.0, Garmin FR220, Magellan Echo)

Next, we can turn them up a bit and see the height of each one.  The pattern is pretty similar here.  The TomTom is a bit of an optical illusion because while the height looks thin on the display side, the button wraps down around the front and pops up a bit.  The thickest units overall are the Adidas, Suunto and then the Timex Run Trainer 2.0 (3rd from right).

Garmin FR620 Size Comparison

If I look at the three other units the Garmin FR620 tends to be compared to the most, you can see this a bit more clearly.

Garmin FR620 Size Comparison

The FR620 is of course the successor to the FR610.  Below, we can see the two side by side.  Display-size wise they’re virtually indistinguishable.  The touch button placement has been swapped around a bit, and there’s now one additional button.

Garmin FR620 FR610 Size Comparison

The most noticeable aspect (aside from weight) though is really thickness.  In particular though towards the base of the unit.  You can see how the first bit of the FR610 (silver) watch band as it leaves the display is still a portion of the unit and added bulk, whereas the FR620 doesn’t have any of that extra bulk.

Garmin FR620 FR610 Size Comparison

Garmin FR620 FR610 Size Comparison

Looking at wearing it, here’s what it looks like on my wrist, my wrist size is 17cm (or about 6.5 inches):

Garmin FR620 on wrist

Garmin FR620 on wrist

And, for all the smaller ladies in the house, here’s what it looks like on The Girl’s wrist, her wrist size is 14cm (or 5.5 inches) – and she’s tiny – 5’2” tall:

Garmin FR620 on small womens wrist

Garmin FR620 on small womens wrist

The Girl wishes to convey that she plans to steal my FR620 upon pressing publish on this review.  Thus far, she’s been using it pretty much every time I’m not using it (she’s also been using the FR220 as well).

Last but not least, here’s the weight situation.  The FR620 weighed in at 44g:

Garmin FR620 Weight

Whereas the older FR610 (metal backing) came in at 75g, and the updated plastic backing at 62g:

Garmin FR610 Weight

Garmin FR610 Weight

Running Functionality and Features:

After you’re ready to start running you’ll head outside and get GPS reception.  Unlike past Garmin Fitness watches, the Garmin FR620 automatically caches the satellite locations for the next week, which means that it can find satellites much faster than before.  This caching is updated via WiFi and Bluetooth Smart each time you connect the FR620.

To illustrate this in a short video, I’ve started with the FR620 turned off (entirely – which is sorta unusual) and then recorded the process to turn it on and until satellite reception.  The red bar on the left side indicates the satellite reception, which turns green once nearing completion.

Typically the unit is already on, so it’s just a 2-second matter to switch into running mode and then enable GPS.  So that first portion to turn on from being off took 18 seconds.  Then, the satellite lock while sitting next to a tall stone wall/ground took 14 seconds.  I’ve seen it even faster when not sitting next to a massive wall.

One pretty cool new feature on the FR620 (and the FR220) is the ability to change how long until the unit falls asleep.  Previously it would fall asleep after 5 minutes if you weren’t actively recording an activity, or hadn’t touched the screen.  This meant for folks waiting at the start line of a big race, the unit could fall asleep on you.  Now though you can change to ‘Extended’ mode, which will in turn shut the unit off after 25 minutes.

Garmin FR620 Timeout

So, with the unit on, we’re ready to start running.  To do so you’ll press the upper right button, which starts the activity.  You can press the same button again to resume it.  The lower right button is the lap button.  The upper left turns on the backlight.  On the front bezel you’ll see a little ‘Back’ arrow and on the opposite side ‘Three lines’, which allow you to navigate through the menus.

Garmin FR620 Main Pages

Once we’ve started running the unit will display a multitude of metrics, based on what you’ve configured.  By default this will be things like pace, distance, time and heart rate.  Each page can have different metrics on them, and you can have different pages.

For example, below I’ve configured a four-metric lap page, which shows my current lap distance, lap time, lap pace, and heart rate.

Garmin FR620 While Running

In this case, below, I’ve setup a two-metric screen that just shows heart rate and the HR zone:

Garmin FR620 While Running

In total you can configure four data screens (+ a Virtual Partner and Running Dynamics screen).  Each screen (page) can contain up to four pieces of data (or as little as one piece of data).  You’ll change all of these within the Activity Settings area, and then Data Screens:

Garmin FR620 Display Fields

Here’s the full listing of data fields you can configure:

Garmin FR620 Data Fields

While running in order to change screens you simply tap the screen.  The touchscreen can be navigated by swiping up and down, just like most phones.  This is similar to the FR610 (but very different from the FR405/FR410 touch bezel).  This touch screen has no problems with water droplets (rain), nor with gloves.  For fun, here’s a quick little video I shot wandering through the menu with a few different gloves:

As you can see, even with the biggest mitten you can navigate it.

Many people ask about pace stability while using GPS.  Below is a short video I took while running with the unit.  I’m not wearing any footpod, this is pure GPS pace.  I ran for a short distance and then abruptly stopped, so you could see the short delay until the unit shows zero (stopped).  The pace number is shown in minutes/mile

The unit can be configured for both metric and statute displays (i.e. miles or kilometers), and in fact, there’s actually settings to change any of the different fields (such as elevation, pace, distance) individually and independently of each other.  So you could have elevation in meters and distance in miles.

Garmin FR620 Miles & Kilometers

While running you can configure the unit to automatically create laps, called Auto Laps. These can be setup based on a preset time, such as 1 Mile.  I tend to use this for longer runs, rather than shorter ones.

Garmin FR620 Auto Lap

Additionally you can also configure Auto Pause, which will automatically pause the unit when you go slower than a certain threshold – such as stopping at a light for a crosswalk.  You can customize the thresholds if they’re too high/low for you.

When it comes to alerting you’ve got a few options.  You can create alerts on a number of metrics such as time, distance, calories, cadence, or pace.  In the case of pace or cadence, these are typically defined as high/low alerts, where you set a high value and/or a low value (both or individual) and then the unit alerts based upon crossing that threshold:

Garmin FR620 Pace Alerts

You can also setup alerts such as the Run/Walk alert, which is common in a number of marathon training plans these days.  In this case you setup a Run Time (i.e. 10 minutes), and then a walk time (i.e. 1 minute) and then the unit will simply repeat this duo forever until you tell it otherwise.

Garmin FR620 Run/Walk Alerts

Lastly in alerting you have the Virtual Partner.  Once enabled the Virtual Partner is set for a given pace (you can adjust it on the fly), such as 7:25/mile.

Garmin FR620 Virtual Partner

The unit will then tell you how far ahead or behind that virtual pacer you are, in both distance and time.

Garmin FR620 Virtual Partner

What’s unfortunate here is you can’t set a goal time for an event (i.e. 3:30 marathon), nor can you see the predicted finish time based on your current pace (for a given distance/event).  I was really hoping to see this given some other units have implemented it lately (namely, the Magellan Switch/Switch Up).

Further, Garmin removed the ability to race against past results (at least temporarily), so you can’t race against yourself nor against any other runner.

Once your run is done you’ll go ahead and tap the pause button to pause it, which then brings you to this screen where you can save the run (or discard it I suppose):

Garmin FR620 Save Run

After which it’ll list off any PR’s that you’ve hit for that run.  PR’s (Personal Records) are listed for distances from 1KM upwards to Marathon, as well as for records such as longest run.  Here’s a few of them:

Garmin FR620 PR Records

Garmin FR620 PR Records

Garmin FR620 PR Records

The only problem is that while it’s supposed to pull your previous PR’s from Garmin Connect, it doesn’t appear to be doing so.  So in reality my PR’s are kinda skewed.

All of this information then ends up in the history section if you’d like to review it later from the watch itself.

Garmin FR620 Run Summary

Garmin FR620 Lap Summary

And of course it’ll get uploaded as I’ll cover in a bit.

Looking at GPS accuracy, I’ve seen good stuff with the FR620.  It’s in line with a bunch of other GPS units I’ve paired it up against, always relatively close to each other.  Given the accuracy of GPS technology in the consumer space, you’ll almost never get the same measurement from two units (even two like units), but in these cases you see very similar numbers across the board:

Garmin FR620 Accuracy Comparison

Garmin FR620 Accuracy Comparison

Sorry this last one’s a bit fuzzy, it was at night.  26.87km = 16.69 miles.  So in this case we had a bit more variance (from 16.19mi to 16.69 miles with the Echo hanging out in the middle at 16.4 miles.  Of course, it’s impossible to know which one is right.

Garmin FR620 Accuracy Comparison

I’ll likely be doing accuracy tests again with the large batch of new running watches on the block, since it now makes sense to do so.

New FR620 Running Dynamics Metrics:

Garmin FR620 Running Dynamics

The FR620 has introduced the ability to get new “Running Dynamics” metrics, which focus primarily on running efficiency areas.  These metrics are only available if you have the (also new) HRM-Run heart rate strap.  This is the strap that has the little runner symbol on the front of it, and contains an accelerometer in it (it otherwise looks like any previous Garmin HR strap).

There are two and a half new metrics that come from the HRM-Run.  I say ‘and a half’, because one of them – cadence – was previously available via the footpod (and also available in the FR620 internally).

The other two metrics are Vertical Oscillation and Ground Contact Time.  First let’s cover what these are:

Vertical Oscillation: This is simply how much you (specifically, your chest) goes up and down during each footstep.  Basically defining how much vertical movement you generate, measured in centimeters.  The less vertical oscillation the better, as it means you’re in theory spending less energy pushing your body up and down vertically (energy which could be used to move your body forward).

Ground Contact Time: This metric covers how long each footstep spends on the ground, measured in milliseconds.  Remember that 1,000ms = 1 second.  Typically speaking the less time you spend on the ground the faster your cadence.  And most elite runners tend to have a fairly fast cadence.  You’ll likely see this number fluctuate directly with that of cadence, which in many people’s situations tends to also correlate with speed.

Cadence: This is not a new metric.  It’s just that Garmin has decided it was time to make you aware of it.  This measures how many steps per minute you take, or, how many times per minute your feet touch the ground.  Traditionally this has always been measured in Garmin products for just a single foot (i.e. 90SPM).  However with the switch to the FR620 and FR220, all of these metrics across Garmin sites are now shown as both feet (i.e. 180SPM).  You’ll note that any previous runs you did now show double what they did before (the change occurred last week updating all old runs).

As a side note, Garmin produced two YouTube videos which were actually surprisingly good.  In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever linked to a Garmin video in a review before – but this one on Running Dynamics explains it very well with cute graphics and animations..  And the same on VO2Max & Recovery Adviser (which I’ll cover in my next section).

Garmin includes this handy little chart in the manual to help you figure out whether or not your results are good.  Of course, they don’t say good, rather, they just label them with non-descript colors so that everyone feels good about themselves.

Garmin FR620 Running Dynamics Ground Contact Time Charts

So how is this information displayed for you?  Well, let’s first start off with running.  While running you can choose to enable a new display screen called, obviously, Running Dynamics.  This screen looks like a small car dashboard:

Garmin FR620 Running Dynamics Cadence

The data is updated in real-time just like any other metric on your watch.

Garmin FR620 Running Dynamics Vetical Oscillation

You can switch around any of these three metrics in the configuration of your data fields.  Further, you can add these metrics to any of your other data pages/screens.

Next, post-run you’ll see a few new (and updated, in the case of cadence) display fields within Garmin Connect:

Garmin FR620 Running Dynamics on Garmin Connect

Looking more closely at the fields you can start to see clear trends between pace, cadence, vertical oscillation and ground contact time.  Though, I think it’ll be some months until coaches and others can really start to make sense of what this data looks like en mass (sorta like left/right power data).

I say that because if you look at the charts above (from one run), and then compare it to the charts below (from a different run), you see different trends.  For example, below you see an increase in vertical oscillation (more bounce) while there’s actually a decrease (faster) in ground contact time.  Which is a bit of a strange correlation to have occur.  Again, more over time here.

Here’s a close look at each of the graphs from a recent run.

Ground Contact Time:

Garmin FR620 Running Dynamics Ground Contact Time on Garmin Connect

Vertical Oscillation:

Garmin FR620 Running Dynamics Vertical Oscillation on Garmin Connect


Garmin FR620 Running Dynamics Cadence on Garmin Connect

You’ll notice a few little blips here and there.  For example that random spike about 80-90% of the way through my run is when a very old man partially fell off his bike a bit ahead of me.  I stopped for a second to make sure he was OK, resulting in that short spike.  Beyond that I’ve seen the data be incredibly clean while running on trails/routes uninterrupted.  However, with city running and jumping on/off sidewalks and around people I see a fair bit more variance.  So be sure you keep your running environment in context when looking at the data.

It should be noted that the HRM-Run continues to also grab standard heart rate data as well – so no changes there:

Garmin FR620 Heart Rate on Garmin Connect

Note that only the Garmin FR620 today can take advantage of the new Running Dynamics metrics from the HRM-Run.  The other units can still connect to the heart rate portion just fine, but not anything beyond that.  Garmin does not have plans to add this to the now ‘older’ FR910XT, but I suspect you’ll see it in future higher-end fitness units from Garmin.

It’s probably worthwhile noting that the HRM-Run strap produces without question the ‘cleanest’ HR data I’ve seen to date on any strap, Garmin or otherwise.  In fact, nearly all of my runs have been very good.  This is notable especially because it’s the fall, which tends to be the worst time of year for HR spikes and dropouts due to the cool weather where people are still wearing t-shirts/shorts and thus you tend to produce less sweat than in either summer (hot), or winter (bundled up).

I’ve only seen a tiny bit of initial latency in the first 1-3 minutes, and only if the strap becomes more dry due to excessive waiting pre-run (you’re to wet the strap in three spots before running).

Garmin FR620 Heart Rate on Garmin Connect

If you’re struggling with past HR straps, this may be the golden ticket from what I’ve seen.  I’ve never seen any issues (spikes/dropouts/whatever) past the first couple of minutes with the HRM-Run and running with it the past 30-40 days.

Lastly, it should be noted that at this time Garmin has selected to make the transmission of the Running Dynamics data ‘private’, rather than open ANT+.  This means that other companies can’t leverage this data real-time from the HRM-Run to the FR620.  However, they can still read the data once the .FIT file is downloaded after the activity (that portion is open).

It should thus be pointed out that it’s a bit hypocritical for Garmin to keep this private-ANT rather than ANT+, especially since they own ANT+ (Dynastream technically), and the sheer success of ANT+ (and to a large extent, Garmin fitness devices – especially cycling) can be owed to the openness of ANT+ amongst member organizations and the willingness of those organizations to produce devices that are compliant with Garmin units (i.e. power meters).

Ironically, if Garmin were to open this up, it’d actually compliment other metrics that other companies are working on – potentially allowing for even greater metrics across the board.  For example, the Scribe running kinematics pod I talked about last week.

VO2Max, Recovery Check, Recovery Advisor & Race Predictor Functionality:

The Garmin FR620 introduced four new features: VO2Max (to predict/determine your VO2Max), Recovery Check (to tell you the current state of recovery), and Race Predictor (to tell you how fast you can run your next race).

First we’ll start with VO2Max.  Your VO2Max is a number that defines your body’s maximum ability to transport and utilize oxygen during exercise.  Many consider it a way to identify elite athletes, though there’s certainly cases where elite marathoners may not have the highest VO2Max numbers and can still do well focusing on other areas (i.e. running efficiency).

Still, this number is nonetheless ‘interesting’.  Though unfortunately, there’s very little you can do to change it beyond initial fitness.  It’s more genetic than trained, and beyond a standard baseline level of fitness you won’t see dramatic (or even major) shifts in your individual VO2Max number.  Most people get this number by performing a standard VO2Max test that lasts about 10-15 minutes on a treadmill.  You can read about one of my past tests here.

The FR620 attempts to predict this number when using a heart rate strap by leveraging algorithms from FirstBeat Technologies.  These algorithms can get you in the ballpark of your VO2Max, and do so in a way that’s much less painful than a VO2Max test (which hurts a lot).

After 10 minutes of running, the unit will calculate a VO2Max value, however, the entire run is considered for the final VO2Max number presented at the end of the run.  Upon completion of the run the watch will display it to you:

Garmin FR620 VO2Max Detection

You can go back and check your current value on the watch at any time from the menu:

Garmin FR620 VO2Max Detection

This data is then tracked on a chart within Garmin Connect:

Garmin Connect Dashboard VO2Max

You’ll likely see slight variations in this day to day because of a lot of factors that the FR620 doesn’t know about (such as fatigue or sleep).  Further, the type of workout you do may impact this number.  For example, I have a rather difficult workout coming up on Tuesday and I’m interested to see if it shifts the number a bit (as my other recent workouts were more focused on length rather than aerobic pain).

In my case, the highest number the device has reported is 57, which is a bit below my actual measured VO2Max of 63.6  Though, that measurement was a few years ago – and things certainly may have changed.

So what good is the VO2Max data?  Well, that data is directly turned around to give you predicted race times.  These times are based on a simple lookup table against your VO2Max and age/gender.  Meaning that it doesn’t take into account whether or not you’ve actually run 18-20mi before that 26.2 mile marathon – it just looks at your aerobic capacity.  It also doesn’t take into account the realities of race day (i.e. hydration, nutrition, brain-farting, etc…).

Still, it’s somewhat interesting.  In my case, it gives me the following estimations:

Garmin FR620 Race Predictor

Which, is actually pretty much in-line for my current marathon PR at 2:54.  And for that matter, the rest of my times are within 30s of my actual PR’s.  However, that’s merely speaking to potential.  In my case, I know I could have run faster that day (marathon).  By the same token, I’m sure I was in better marathon shape that day than today.

Still, it gives you a ballpark, and in my case the greater ballpark is still somewhat accurate.

Next we look at two inter-related features: Recovery Check and Recovery Advisor.

Recovery Check is designed to assess your recovery level after the first 6 minutes of the run, and it’ll display a message to you shortly thereafter:

Garmin FR620 Recovery Check

Whereas Recovery Advisor is a post-run message that tells you how long you should wait before attempting another hard run workout.

Garmin FR620 Recovery Time

Further, the watch then counts this down and you can always access the current ‘clock’ to see where you stand:

Garmin FR620 Recovery Time

The goal here with Recovery Advisor being to reduce injuries.  Many runners (both new and not-so-new) tend to incorrectly schedule workouts to not give enough rest between hard running workouts.  This in turn leads to injury – especially following long runs and the like.

Treadmill Running & Internal Accelerometer:

A lot of treadmills

The Garmin FR620 includes an internal accelerometer (in the watch) which enables the unit to measure both pace and cadence without the need for an external footpod (as most watches previously required).

This internal accelerometer is automatically configured while running outdoors with the GPS enabled (there’s no additional manual configuration).  My ability to test this particular feature has been somewhat limited, as only the final firmware enabled my unit the ability to record this data (as opposed to just viewing it).  That said, one of the easiest ways to test this is by simply running it through a straight forward pyramid test on a treadmill after a run outdoors (to get the unit calibrated via GPS).

For this test I did a very straight forward treadmill test after completing a short warm-up.  The recorded test includes the following:

1 Minute @ 12KPH (it took about 15-20s for the treadmill to get to full speed)
4 Minutes @ 13KPH (7:26/mi, 4:37/km)
1 Minute @ 14KPH (6:45/mi, 4:17/km)
1 Minute @ 15KPH (6:26/mi, 4:03/km)
1 Minute @ 16KPH (6:02/mi, 3:45/km)
1 Minute @ 17KPH (5:41/mi, 3:32/km)
1 Minute @ 18KPH (5:22/mi, 3:20/km)
1 Minute @ 15KPH (6:26/mi, 4:03/km)
2 Minutes @ 10KPH with letting treadmill stop last 10 seconds. (9:30/mi, 6:00/km)

After that first minute, the following 4-minutes at 13KPH provided a nice steady chunk of graph to look at.  Further, that pace is just a nice average running speed for me – similar to a long-run pace.  And, looking at the graph and paces in that section, it did exactly that.  The paces there were within 3-5s/mile – perfectly suitable.

Garmn FR620 on treadmill

Then, I would increase the pace by 1KPH (metric treadmill) each minute.  In theory this would provide a very clear step-ladder of sorts of paces.  Here’s what it actually showed: Not much of anything.

Garmn FR620 on treadmill

In fact, it actually reported me going slower.  Now, what’s really interesting here is that you can very clearly see my cadence increasing on the cadence graphs – incredibly clear step-ladder there:

Garmn FR620 on treadmill Cadence Data

As you see above, once I hit the 5-minute marker, and each minute thereafter my cadence naturally increases (this is common/normal as you speed up).  But the pace accuracy drops outs.  And, if you were to look at the final two minutes where I was at 10KPH (9:30/mile), the unit actually has me closer to 8:30/mile.

Now, what’s interesting here is that I saw this same sort of trend with the TomTom watch and its internal accelerometer.  It was quite good at tracking paces right around my normal running range (i.e. 7:00-7:45/mile).  However, as soon as I dropped below 7:00/mile it fell apart.  It’ll be interesting to see data points from other users on this and see what patterns look like.

Now of course do keep in mind that calibration of treadmills across gyms and fitness centers is horribly bad (really, it’s rather ugly actually).  So that could impact individual tests.  However, in my case, we’re talking nearly 2:00 min/mile difference, and the fact that as I came closer to 5:00/mile in pace, it was actually reporting I was getting even slower than my baseline pace.  I assure you, my little heart begs to differ.

I suspect what’s happening is some portion of my arm swing changes at these higher speeds and thus throws off the pace metrics.  However interestingly, the cadence metrics (coming from the HRM-Run at this point) actually tracked quite well with a footpod I had streaming cadence to another device.  Here’s the two right on top of each other:

Garmn FR620 on treadmill Cadence Data with HRM-Run

Garmn FR610 on treadmill Cadence Data with HRM-Run

You see a bit more noise in the footpod data, which is interesting in that it shows just how clean the HRM-Run data is for cadence.

If the accuracy of the internal accelerometer for pace though isn’t good enough for you, you can always pair any ANT+ enabled footpod to the unit.  For example, one like the below:

Garmin Footpod

You’ll dive into the sensor area and then pair the footpod:

Garmin Footpod enablement with FR620

Garmin Footpod enablement with FR620

Once that’s done you can go ahead and specify the calibration factor if you know it:

Garmin Footpod Calibration with FR620

At that point you’re pretty much good to go. Likely when in indoors mode you’ll want to switch off GPS, which is again just a quick tap of the top GPS icon to set it to off. At this point it’ll provide pace, distance and cadence while indoors.

Workout Creation & Training Plans:

The FR620 supports the ability to create manual workouts that you’ll follow on your device and be prompted for each step of the workout.  These workouts can have a variety of targets (such as pace, cadence, heart rate and speed), and can have preset durations such as time, distance or just simply pressing the lap button.

The workouts are created on Garmin Connect and then transferred to the device via Bluetooth or USB.

Below, you can see my creating one of my workouts.  You can create a multiple of steps, and include embedded repeating steps (such as Work + Rest intervals).  The Garmin Connect workout builder is pretty much the easiest and most complete interval builder out there.  Incredibly simple to use.

Garmin Connect Workout Creator

Once you’re done with the workout, you’ll see all the steps listed.

Garmin Connect Workout Creator

Upon completion you can go ahead and send it to your device via USB or Bluetooth Smart (by pulling it from the Garmin Connect Mobile app):

Garmin Connect Send to Device workouts

Additionally, you can also add it to your Training Calendar. The Training Calendar on the device will then automatically show you your scheduled workouts on the day it’s scheduled.

Garmin Connect Send to Device Training Calendar

On the unit these workouts will show up after tapping the little Trophy in the middle of the screen and going into the workouts area:

Garmin FR620 Training Calendar Workout

You can preview the steps for each workout as well there:

Garmin FR620 Workout Structure

Garmin Connect also includes training plans for a variety of different goals (5K to Marathon) and sports (Bike/Run/Tri), as well as levels.

Garmin Connect Training Plans

Each Training Plan has specific workouts in them which are automatically added to your calendar after you’ve clicked the ‘Schedule’ button.  You can easily remove all workouts as well and change plans.  The scheduler will allow you to specify either a start or finish date (i.e. race day) and all of the workouts then align to that date.

Garmin Connect Training Plans - Marathon

Here you can see the calendar view:

Garmin Connect Calendar View

Finally, on your unit these will show up in your Training Calendar view right next to workouts, after tapping the little trophy:

Garmin FR620 Training Calendar Feature

Structured workouts like those included in the training plans (and via the workout builder) will walk you through each step of the workout, automatically counting down the time allocated for each step and letting you know what the goal is for each step:

Garmin Connect Workout Screens on FR620

If you exceed a threshold, it’ll alert you immediately, like the below.  Though strangely, it doesn’t actually tell you whether you were high or low – just simply that you were out of bounds for that portion of the workout. (To clarify: It always shows you the view above, but when the pop-up alert happens as seen below, it doesn’t say “High/Low” there).

Garmin Connect Workout Screens on FR620

Lastly, you can cancel a workout at any time by just simply tapping the three lines on the right side and hitting cancel.

Cycling Functionality:

Garmin FR620 while cycling

The Garmin FR620 does not contain a cycling function/mode, nor any way to connect to speed/cadence sensors while cycling.  Which differs from the FR610 that both had a cycling mode as well as had the ability to connect to ANT+ speed/cadence sensors.

It does however contain the ability to switch the display metric from pace (usually displayed as minutes/mile or minutes/kilometer) to speed (i.e. MPH/KPH).  You can do this via the the Settings > Activity Settings > Data Screens menu, and then within one of your data pages you can select the data field you want to change and change it to Speed.

At this point the unit will display speed (MPH or KPH depending on your preferences) as one of the data fields.

You can also just swap things over to show speed across the board:

Garmin FR620 while cycling change mode

The only challenge with this particular workaround though is that by default the workout will still be uploaded to Garmin Connect as a ‘Run’, rather than a ‘Bike’ workout, which means that it’ll incorrectly trigger both PR’s on the unit (i.e. fastest 5KM) as well as incorrectly triggering those on Garmin Connect.  You can clear these on the unit itself by going into the PR section and manually removing them.

And on the Garmin Connect side you can go ahead and modify the workout type to be ‘Cycling’ which will then address the issue there.

(Update: Garmin has confirmed that in ‘Spring 2014’, the unit will receive a firmware update that enables a cycling mode with support for the ANT+ Speed/Cadence sensor.  Remember that ‘spring’ does technically go well into June.)

Like the FR610, the FR620 does not contain any form of navigational/course routing.  However, unlike the FR610, it doesn’t contain any ‘back to start’ type functionality that the FR610 had around getting back to the start of you run by providing basic compass style directional navigation.  The FR610 also provided current GPS coordinates, which the FR620 doesn’t provide.  Finally, it provided saved locations.  Which also isn’t available on the FR620.

Garmin has stated that they may look to add back some of these features in a future software update, but that they aren’t going to be available for launch.

For users that need these functions, the better choice would be the Fenix/Tactix watch form-factor lineup, rather than the running-specific watches.  The Fenix watches focus on navigation, running, and exceedingly long battery life (upwards of 55 hours).  They do lack however areas such as training plans, interval, and workout functions.  Though, they do contain a cycling mode with full support for ANT+ speed/cadence sensors.  Alternatively, the Suunto Ambit 2/2s are good choices in the navigation department, though lack the same training plans and workout functions (and kinda-sorta-barely has an interval function).  But, the Ambit 2/2s do make for much better triathlon watches than the FR220/FR620.

Use as a day to day watch, backlight:

Garmin FR620 and FR220 at night

(The FR220 at left, the FR620 at right)

The FR620 can hang out in non-GPS mode for 6 weeks, acting as a standard day to day watch.  In this mode the screen is automatically locked, and unlike the FR610 simply having your shirt brush the touch screen won’t switch it back into GPS mode.

Instead, you’ll need to tap one of buttons and then you’ll have to touch the touchscreen center unlock button:

Garmin FR620 lock screen

From an alarms standpoint you can create a single daily alarm.  You are not able to configure it for specific days of the week and/or additional alarms:

Garmin FR620 Time Alerts

In time mode, you can actually configure the background to be black (with white text), or white (with black text).  The time will be automatically pulled from GPS, unless you use the manual mode to set it manually.

Garmin FR620 Display Invert

Finally, the unit has backlight which can be configured to turn on for a specified time, or configured to stay on at all times.  For me running in the dark I just turn it on at the start of the run and utilize the ‘Stays On’ option so it’s always there for quick and easy glancing:

Garmin FR620 Backlight Settings

Additionally, you can also set the unit to automatically illuminate if/when you either press a button or if any alerts appear (i.e. lap notifications, pacing alerts, workout alerts, etc…)

Garmin FR620 Backlight Modes

ANT+ Weight Scale Connectivity:

Garmin FR620 ANT+ Weight Scales

While the majority of Garmin fitness devices used to support connecting to a small number of ANT+ enabled weight and body fat scales, the FR620 no longer continues that tradition.  Based on my discussions with the product team, there are no current plans to enable that functionality on the FR620 (or, the FR220).  That said, they noted they will continue to listen to consumer feedback on the issue.

I suspect the primary reason for this is simply the number of users using those weight scales today (unfortunately barely a rounding error on a tenth of a percent at best).  Added to that the fact that most of the WiFi scales today far exceed the functionality provided by the ANT+ scales.

Of course, that doesn’t help users of past Garmin devices that have purchased those ANT+ scales solely for the purpose of connecting them to Garmin devices (the only company that truly ever lit up that scenario via ANT+ ).  Given it would be Garmin’s goal to convert those users into FR620/FR220 users, I would think that it might benefit them to as a gesture of goodwill to look at an update down the road to connect to the scale (it’s just a firmware change).

As a side effect, this pretty much kills any ANT+ scales going forward. Which, shouldn’t really be a major surprise.  Even Bluetooth scales aren’t really a great solution.  Neither protocol really fits the bill for scales compared to WiFi, especially since virtually nobody would travel with their scale – meaning that it’s always going to be hanging out in a single place with easy WiFi access.


Garmin FR620 Waterproofing

The Garmin FR620 is fully waterproofed to 50 meters (150ft).  And, unlike most past Garmin running specific watches (usually minimal IPX7 waterproofing), the FR620 is more than fine on your wrist while swimming (though it won’t capture any metrics).

In my testing with the unit in various water-filled situations such as brief swimming bouts, running long runs in the rain, and showers, I’ve seen no issues.  With the similar body designed FR220 I’ve spent even more time in the water, doing openwater swims in salt water as well (for up to two hours in the water), without any issues.

Going forward into December I’ll be bringing both the FR220 and the FR620 down to 33m (~100ft deep) in an indoor facility designed for exactly this sort of thing, to test out the waterproofing myself.  Should be fun!

Live Tracking & Mobile Phone Upload Functionality:

Garmin FR620 Bluetooth Enablement

The Garmin FR620 includes the ability to connect via Bluetooth Smart to your mobile phone to upload workouts immediately upon completion, as well as to provide streaming live tracking of your run to family and friends.  You can share out the link automatically via e-mail or social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook.  This of course does require your phone be present with you the entire run for live tracking during the run.

We first saw this technology in the Garmin Edge 510 and Edge 810 last January.  In that case however, the units used older Bluetooth chips which meant compatibility with older phones.  With Bluetooth Smart being used here in the FR620, you’ll need an iPhone 4s or newer in order to take advantage of the uploads and connectivity.  At this time, Android is not supported.  Again, Android is not supported today.  This is largely because the Android Bluetooth Smart story/support has been a complete cluster until recently (notably, Android OS version 4.3).  Thus, it’s really only been the last couple of months that we’ve see that hit handsets, and even now for example, Samsung users in the US on AT&T only got it last week.  Remember that Bluetooth Smart is a subset of Bluetooth 4.0.  So it’s not only a case of ensuring your phone physically contains a Bluetooth 4.0 chipset, but also that the handset is running Android 4.3.  And of course, beyond that, getting the app to support it (which, it doesn’t today).

At any rate, Android aside, here’s how it works on the iPhone.

First up is the pairing.  Unlike other Bluetooth devices, you won’t be doing this from the Bluetooth Control panel (beyond ensuring Bluetooth is simply enabled on your phone).  Instead, you’ll do it from the Garmin Connect Mobile app (download it first, it’s free).  Then, once you’ve got that installed and signed into your Garmin Connect app, you’ll start the wizard:


Meanwhile, on the phone you’ll go into the Bluetooth settings to get that all enabled and paired:


Once you’ve got those two pieces completed, you’ve got a few options.  The primary use here is really on the Live Tracking side, which the FR620 does as long as your phone is within Bluetooth range of your FR620.  In this mode you’ll create a Live Tracking session for your run.  This can be named anything you’d like, or, if you leave it as the default it’ll just autogenerate a name based on the date.

Next, you’ll setup who you want to invite.  In my case, I’ve configured it to always send a notification to my Coach, my wife, and myself (just for the heck of it).  This is sent via e-mail and gives a link that they can click on (more on that in a second).  Additionally, you can configure notifications to Facebook and Twitter.  You’ll see an option to extend sharing.  I always set this.  This means that upon completion of the activity your friends/family will still be able to see that you’ve finished for up to 24 hours.  Otherwise, it’ll kill the session as soon you press Stop/Save.

Garmin FR620 Livetracking App

Once that’s all ready to go, you’ll go ahead and start the live tracking session.  Note that you need not start it at the same time as pressing the watch start button.  This allows you to start it on your phone, and then stash your phone away (armband, CamelBak, Spibelt, etc…).  Think of this like starting your car.  It doesn’t actually go and drive anywhere until you put it in ‘drive’ (in this case, pressing start on the FR620 for your activity).

Garmin FR620 Livetracking App

Once you’ve started, you’ll see two little icons at the top indicating that Bluetooth is connected.

Meanwhile, your friends and family will receive an e-mail with tracking information:


When they click on said link, they’ll be brought to a simple tracking page:

Garmin FR620 Livetracking Site

This page also works just as well from a mobile device as well (screenshot courtesy my coach):

Garmin FR620 Livetracking on iPhone Garmin FR620 Livetracking on iPhone

The page can be switched between MPH/KPH and Pace, as well as through the different formats such as kilometers or statute.

The live tracking updates every 30 or 60 seconds (I’ve seen both), and will graph your ANT+  data as well, including heart rate, cadence, and if you have the HRM-Run, that information too (vertical oscillation for example, added in the last few days).  If you hover over any of the sections on the graphs you’ll get stats about that particular data point.

Additionally, you can swap between standard maps and satellite maps.

Garmin FR620 Live Tracking

Along the way it’ll plot markers every mile.  It doesn’t show any lap information you’ve set however, it just beats to its own drum:

Garmin FR620 Live Tracking Mile Splits

Overall, the tracking seems to be working quite well.  I’ve been tracking my wife’s runs, and my coach has been tracking all my runs the last 7-10 days or so without issue.

Upon completion of the activity a banner will display that the user has completed the run:

Garmin FR620 Live Tracking End

And, upon completion the activity will be uploaded to Garmin Connect via the Bluetooth Connection on the phone.  This is accomplished when the ‘Auto Upload’ option is enabled.  Note that it first uploads from the device to the phone, and then from the phone to Garmin Connect.  Below, you see it uploading first from the FR620 to the phone.  Then, once that’s complete (takes about 30 seconds), you’ll see a little ‘Up’ arrow icon, which then indicates it’ll move over to Garmin Connect online.

Garmin FR620 Mobile App Uploads Garmin FR620 Mobile App Uploads Enablement

Now, I have noticed a few oddities/bugs with the app in my testing.

I can’t get it to Tweet out my run for Live Tracking, no matter how hard I try.  It says it’s going to, but it never does.  In poking around Twitter, it appears other peoples are working fine, so perhaps it’s just me.  I’ve tried deleting the app, deleting my Twitter account of the phone, and everything in between.  Multiple times over.  No love. Update: I got this fixed.  It turned out I had to revoke the App from the Twitter.com Settings page (not my phone), and then re-set everything.  Good to go there!

I’m getting intermittent failures on the run actually uploading to Garmin Connect (post-run, live tracking is fine/separate).  I’m reasonably sure this was working just fine the first few days, but now it seems to be failing to upload the workouts.  Update: Now, this seems to be working just fine for me again as of Nov 19th, 2013.

– Added: Calibration of footpod: In my testing, I had calibration values shown when I used the footpod.  However, in recent builds, it doesn’t seem to be updating the calibration value from outdoor GPS runs.  Thus you have to manually calibrate (a pain, involves math, kinda stupid).  If you use the footpod in the current firmware with GPS, you’ll get inaccurate data because the footpod will be set for 1000 (likely incorrect for you), and will override GPS.

Note: For Android support, according to this post from Garmin’s product support team, they are targeting “Q1 2014” (i.e. Jan-March 2014).  As expected, it’ll require a Bluetooth 4.0 capable handset, along with Android Jelly Bean 4.3 OS installed on it.

WiFi Connectivity Functionality:

The FR620 is the first Garmin Fitness unit to include the ability to transmit data via standard WiFi connections.  This allows you to upload completed activities, firmware updates, as well as download training plans and custom workouts.

In order to get everything cooking you’ll need to download the Garmin Express Fit app, which is how you configure your WiFi networks.

Garmin FIT Express

Once that’s completed and you’ve got your FR620 connected via USB, you can open the application to get started:

Garmin FIT Express with Garmin FR620

It’ll then have you sign-in to Garmin Connect to connect the watch to your account.  Once that’s complete it’ll bring you here, ready to set things up, clicking ‘Yes’ would be the proper answer for a successful journey:

Garmin FIT Express with Garmin FR620 configuration of Wifi

Next, you’ll be able to start adding WiFi networks:

Garmin FIT Express with Garmin FR620 configuration of Wifi

You can see them listed out, or you can manually type one in:

Garmin FIT Express with Garmin FR620 configuration of Wifi

Garmin FIT Express with Garmin FR620 configuration of Wifi manual network

Here’s what it looks like once you’ve added a few in:

Garmin Fit Express FR620 WiFi networks

After clicking OK, a few seconds later the unit will get the settings transmitted to it via USB.

Garmin Fit Express FR620 WiFi networks

It should be noted that you can also click the little dropdown box to access a setting to automatically clear transferred workouts from the device.  I personally don’t do this.  The device has approx 4MB of memory (aka 4,000KB).  Each 1hr of workout is approximately 100KB, thus, you have 40 hours of workout time on the device.  I like to grab those raw FIT files before they disappear.  So I’d rather just clean them out manually later.

Garmin Fit Express FR620 WiFi Upload Configuration

Next, go out and do a workout.  When you return and finish the workout you’ll notice two little icons at the top of the screen:

Garmin FR620 WiFi Uploading

These icons indicate the unit is uploading wirelessly.  Note that WiFi isn’t enabled 24×7, only shortly after the workload completes.  This is to prevent battery drain.

If you miss that ‘window’, you can simply tap the connect button on the unit itself (it’s the lower right button), which will then trigger connecting to WiFi to upload workouts and transfer data:

Garmin FR620 Searching for WiFi

Garmin FR620 Transferring on WiFi

I found that the upload process doesn’t seem quite as fast as I would have expected – about a minute.  But that’s fine.  If you just do it when you first walk in the door it’s more than completed by time you get to your computer.

Computer (USB) Upload Functionality:

In addition to WiFi and Bluetooth Smart uploads (as discussed in previous sections), you can also just simply plug in the Garmin FR620 and upload the data manually (or, send the data to 3rd party sites).

The unit enumerates as a standard USB mass storage device – just like a USB thumb drive.  This is ideal as it requires no special drivers, and works on practically any device in the world.  The workouts all hang out in the ‘Activity’ folder.

Garmin FR620 USB Upload

Once you’ve got it plugged in you’ll go ahead and crack open Garmin Connect and then click on the ‘Upload’ button, which brings you to the below page.  From there just click to ‘Upload all new activities’.

Garmin FR620 USB Upload to Garmin Connect

The upload process only takes a few seconds and then shows you which runs you’ve uploaded to click on.

Garmin FR620 USB Upload to Garmin Connect Picker

At which point, your activities are online and ready to analyze.  Simple tap the ‘View details’ link, which will conveniently move you into the next section.

Garmin Connect Online:

After you’ve completed uploading the data to Garmin Connect, you’ll be able to pull up the activity and drill into details.  This includes maps, charts, and summary information.

By default you’ll start off at this page, within the ‘Details’ tab of the activity analysis section.  Here you’ll see a full overview of your activity with maps that can be customized to use Bing, Google, and OpenStreetMap as providers, and then the satellite or standard map views depending on the locale and provider:

Garmin FR620 on Garmin Connect Overview

As you work your way down the page you’ll see the summary metrics along the left side.  While on the right side you’ll get pods for each of the different metrics the FR620 recorded during the run.  These metrics will vary slightly based on what ANT+ accessories you may have paired (such as the HRM-Run ANT+ strap, a regular ANT+ HR strap, or an ANT+ footpod).

Garmin FR620 on Garmin Connect Overview Page Charts

You’ll see above that I have laps created every mile.  This was because I had Auto Lap on, which I typically enable for long runs.  For interval runs I generally control that manually and press lap as I iterate through each of my workout sections.  In either scenario though, the laps show up here.

As I dive further down I get to the FR620 HRM-Run specific features, such as Vertical Oscillation and Ground Contact Time.  On the left side you’ll see weather which is pulled from a local weather station after the fact via a data provider (it’s not from the unit itself).  Also, you’ll notice that elevation correction is automatically enabled since the FR620 doesn’t include a barometric altimeter.

Garmin FR620 on Garmin Connect Running Dynamics Charts

Beyond the detail page seen above, there’s also a laps page, which you can dive into more detail about each of the various laps that you’ve triggered:

Garmin FR620 on Garmin Connect Splits Charts

And the last section being the ‘Player’ view, which allows you to replay back your run and see performance metrics such as pace and cadence at any point along the route.

Garmin FR620 on Garmin Connect Player View

If you’d like to poke around at one of my recent FR620 runs, you can use this Garmin Connect link here to do so.

3rd Party Site Compatibility:

The Garmin FR620 outputs files in the standard .FIT file format.  This means that it’s fully compatible with just about any 3rd party site you’d want to use.  Said differently, if your 3rd party site doesn’t accept .FIT files, it’s probably not worth using.

The better/more interesting news here is that the additional Running Dynamics data that’s added to the .FIT file doesn’t ‘break’ any 3rd party sites I tried.  Those 3rd party sites haven’t yet been updated to read that data, but they don’t choke on it either.  I’ve successfully uploaded to: Training Peaks, Strava, and Sport Tracks.

For those developers in the house, here’s a zip file with a handful of FR620 .FIT files for your development pleasure. All of these files were done on the final firmware.

One item I will point out that’s fairly annoying is that Garmin has decided to produce the .FIT files with a completely useless name.  Previously they had the date and timestamp on the name of each file, making it easy to figure out what was what.

Garmin FR620 FIT Files on USB

Now, it’s just garbage.  This is the same as the FR220, annoyingly.

Firmware Updating:

Garmin FR620 Firmware Updating

Like most units, the FR620 supports updates to the firmware over time as Garmin releases new bug fixes or additions to functionality.

The FR620 is however the first Garmin unit to be able to handle these updates over WiFi, as well as traditional USB.  Further, it along with the FR220 also can receive the updates via Bluetooth Smart from your phone.  During a discussion I had with them a month ago, Garmin noted that they really wanted to move towards a platform like the phone where updates are more visible, rather than the existing Garmin Connect system where you really have to know an update is available and go out of your way to apply it.

As you can see above, once an update is available it’ll show up on your unit when you switch into run mode.  At which point you’ll have three options.

First, you can simply install it right then and there.  Takes only a couple minutes and all your settings are saved.

The second option (seen below), is to defer the update until you’re ready.  You might want to do this if you’re just about to head out on a run (Tip of the day: Never update anything – watch, nutrition clothes, etc… – the day before race).  The unit will re-prompt you the next time you switch into run mode.

The third option is to simply dismiss the update, which tells it to not bother you again.

Garmin FR620 Firmware Updating

Once you’re in a good position to update, just press ‘Install Now’ and the update progress bar will show you how much of the installation has been completed.

Garmin FR620 Firmware Updating Installing

Looking at historical firmware updates for Garmin devices, you tend to see more updates just after release, than a year or two down the road.  Further, you don’t tend to see massive new feature sets (like an iPhone), but rather, smaller adds.

Garmin FR620 Firmware Updating Installed

In the case of the FR620, they’ve previously talked about the potential to bring back things like the FR610 cycling mode – so I suspect we may see that as a good example of a firmware update.  Also, you tend to see more functionality adds in the higher end products such as the FR620, than you do in the lower-end products like the FR220.

Bugs and Miscellaneous:

Garmin FR620 Bugs

In recent reviews I’ve been adding a bugs section to cover things that I stumbled upon.  Because I’ve had the watch for a bit now, I’m really only focusing on bugs that I’ve seen on the final firmware.  Remember a ‘bug’ is different than ‘by design’. For example, the lack of a feature is something I highlight within a given section is considered ‘by design’, whereas something not really working right is listed below.

– The internal accelerometer pace data while on a treadmill seems suspect at faster than your norm paces, and slower than your norm paces.

– I’m having some issues with the Garmin Connect mobile app.  It’s unclear how many of these are specific to me, or widespread.

The pace alerts (high/low alerts) seem overly sensitive to trigger, though I need to re-validate this after the Saturday firmware update (no release notes) [Update: Nov 6th – This appears to be fixed for me in the 2.30 FW release.]

– The PR’s don’t appear to take into account existing Garmin Connect PR’s, rather, are only device specific.

Now, this doesn’t mean this is all the bugs out there.  This is just the ones I saw during my running and/or use.  As a single person I can’t possible test every possible feature in every possible combination to reproduce every possible scenario.  Sure, I’d love to – but companies have entire teams of testers and they still miss things.  So I do the best I can to note what I’ve seen above.

Pros and Cons:

While there’s a lot of text here that covers a lot of fairly important details, here’s the super-duper slimmed down version of that:


– GPS accuracy seems to be quite good, unit finds satellites very quickly with pre-caching
– Incredibly lightweight for a GPS watch (or any unit)
– Waterproof to 50m (finally!)
– WiFi uploads are awesome, with Bluetooth a good substitute when required


– Not convinced the treadmill (internal accelerometer) paces are accurate at all pace ranges
– No cycling, navigation, weight scale functionality
– Some people dislike the color choices offered

Comparison Tables:

Before we wrap things up I’ve put together the comparison charts of all the features of the FR620, compared to the older FR210 and FR610 – as well as the new FR220.  You can of course create your own comparison tables using this link with any of the products I’ve previously reviewed.

Function/FeatureGarmin Forerunner 210Garmin Forerunner 220Garmin Forerunner 610Garmin Forerunner 620
Copyright DC Rainmaker - Updated October 21st, 2015 @ 1:43 amNew Window
Product Announcement DateOCT 4, 2010SEPT 16, 2013APR 12, 2011SEPT 16, 2013
Actual Availability/Shipping DateOCT 2010OCT 31, 2013APR 15, 2011OCT 31, 2013
GPS Recording FunctionalityYesYesYesYes
Data TransferUSBUSB, Bluetooth SmartANT+ WirelessUSB, WiFi, Bluetooth Smart
WaterproofingIPX750 MetersIPX750 meters
Battery Life (GPS)10 hours10 hours8 Hours10 hours
Recording IntervalSmartSMART RECORDING (VARIABLE)1-second & smart1-second & Smart
Satellite Pre-Loading via ComputerNoYes, 7 daysNoYes, 7 days
Quick Satellite ReceptionGreatGreatGreatGreat
Backlight GreatnessGoodGreatGreatGreat
Ability to download custom apps to unit/deviceNoNoNoNo
Acts as daily activity monitor (steps, etc...)NoNoNoNo
ConnectivityGarmin Forerunner 210Garmin Forerunner 220Garmin Forerunner 610Garmin Forerunner 620
Bluetooth Legacy (pre-4.0) to PhoneNoNoVia Wahoo Fitness AdapterNo
Bluetooth Smart (4.0+) to Phone UploadingNoYesVia Wahoo Fitness AdapterYes
Phone Notifications to unit (i.e. texts/calls/etc...)NoNoNoNo
Live Tracking (streaming location to website)NoYesNoYes
Emergency/SOS Message Notification (from watch to contacts)NoNoNoNo
Built-in cellular chip (no phone required)NoNoNoNo
CyclingGarmin Forerunner 210Garmin Forerunner 220Garmin Forerunner 610Garmin Forerunner 620
Designed for cyclingBarely (Speed mode only)Barely (Speed mode only)YesBarely (Speed mode only)
Power Meter CapableNoNoNoNo
Speed/Cadence Sensor CapableNoNoYesYes
Strava segments live on deviceNo
RunningGarmin Forerunner 210Garmin Forerunner 220Garmin Forerunner 610Garmin Forerunner 620
Designed for runningYesYesYesYes
Footpod Capable (For treadmills)YesYes (also has internal accelerometer)YesYes (internal accelerometer)
Running Dynamics (vertical oscillation, ground contact time, etc...)NoNoNoYes
VO2Max EstimationNoNoNoYes
Race PredictorNoNoNoYes
Recovery AdvisorNoNoNoYes
Run/Walk ModeNoYesYesYes
SwimmingGarmin Forerunner 210Garmin Forerunner 220Garmin Forerunner 610Garmin Forerunner 620
Designed for swimmingNoNo (protected though just fine)NoNo (protected though just fine)
Record HR underwaterNoNoNoNo
TriathlonGarmin Forerunner 210Garmin Forerunner 220Garmin Forerunner 610Garmin Forerunner 620
Designed for triathlonNoNoNoNo
Multisport modeNoNoNoNo
WorkoutsGarmin Forerunner 210Garmin Forerunner 220Garmin Forerunner 610Garmin Forerunner 620
Create/Follow custom workoutsNoYesYesYes
On-unit interval FeatureYesYesYesYes
Training Calendar FunctionalityNoYesNoYes
FunctionsGarmin Forerunner 210Garmin Forerunner 220Garmin Forerunner 610Garmin Forerunner 620
Auto Start/StopNoYesYesYes
Virtual Partner FeatureNoNoYesYes
Virtual Racer FeatureNoNoYesNo
Records PR's - Personal Records (diff than history)NoYesNoYes
Day to day watch abilityYesYesYesYes
Hunting/Fishing/Ocean DataNoNoNoNo
Tidal Tables (Tide Information)NoNoNoNo
Jumpmaster mode (Parachuting)NoNoNoNo
Weather Display (live data)NoNoNoNo
NavigateGarmin Forerunner 210Garmin Forerunner 220Garmin Forerunner 610Garmin Forerunner 620
Follow GPS Track (Courses/Waypoints)NoNoNoNo
Markers/Waypoint DirectionNoNoNoNo
Routable/Visual Maps (like car GPS)NoNoNoNo
Back to startNoNoYesNo
Impromptu Round Trip Route CreationNoNoNoNo
Download courses/routes from phone to unitNoNoNoNo
SensorsGarmin Forerunner 210Garmin Forerunner 220Garmin Forerunner 610Garmin Forerunner 620
Optical Heart Rate Sensor internallyNoNo
Heart Rate Strap CompatibleYesYesYesYes
ANT+ Heart Rate Strap CapableYesYesYesYes
ANT+ Speed/Cadence CapableNoNoYesYes
ANT+ Footpod CapableYesYesYesYes
ANT+ Power Meter CapableNoNoNoNo
ANT+ Weight Scale CapableYesNoYesNo
ANT+ Fitness Equipment (Gym)NoNoYesNo
ANT+ Lighting ControlNo
ANT+ Bike Radar IntegrationNo
ANT+ Trainer Control (FE-C)No
ANT+ Remote ControlNoNoNoNo
ANT+ eBike CompatibilityNoNoNoNo
Shimano Di2 ShiftingNoNo
Bluetooth Smart HR Strap CapableNoNoNoNo
Bluetooth Smart Speed/Cadence CapableNoNoNoNo
Bluetooth Smart Footpod CapableNoNoNoNo
Bluetooth Smart Power Meter CapableNoNoNoNo
Temp Recording (internal sensor)NoNoNoNo
Temp Recording (external sensor)NoNoNoNo
Compatible with Firstbeat HR toolsYesNoYesYes
SoftwareGarmin Forerunner 210Garmin Forerunner 220Garmin Forerunner 610Garmin Forerunner 620
PC ApplicationGTCGarmin ExpressGTC/ANT AgentGarmin Express
Web ApplicationGarmin ConnectGarmin ConnectGarmin ConnectGarmin Connect
Phone AppGarmin FitiOS/AndroidGarmin FitiOS/Android
Ability to Export SettingsNoNoNoYes
PurchaseGarmin Forerunner 210Garmin Forerunner 220Garmin Forerunner 610Garmin Forerunner 620
Amazon LinkLinkLinkLinkLink
Clever Training - Save with the VIP programLinkLinkLinkLink
DCRainmakerGarmin Forerunner 210Garmin Forerunner 220Garmin Forerunner 610Garmin Forerunner 620
Review LinkLinkLinkLinkLink

The tables are updated dynamically and thus if/when things change that’s represented automatically in this section.

Final Thoughts:

Garmin FR620 Backplate

Overall I’m quite happy with the FR620, and it’ll quickly become my go-to GPS running watch (I’ve previously always used my FR610 as my GPS running watch).  And, The Girl has also laid claim to a unit for her as well (she’s been using it as well).  Though, she wants a purple one, just like the purple FR220.  I love the WiFi upload functionality, and am looking forward to the integrated live tracking once the app is updated/released.  The only challenge with the WiFi upload functionality is that I still need to plug in the FR620 to get the raw .FIT file up to TrainingPeaks (3rd party site).

The Running Dynamics pieces with the HRM-Run are ‘interesting’ right now to look at.  I’m not sure what training decisions can be made based on them, but in the meantime it’s fascinating to start making correlations.  More importantly however is that Garmin has finally made a heart rate strap that actually works without spikes or dropouts.  Heck, that in and of itself is worthwhile.

There are some downsides though – the lack of cycling mode will be a problem for some (admittedly, not me).  And the loss of the ANT+ weight scale support is also a Debbie Downer for many ANT+ scale owners.  Further, lack of any navigational support (such as ‘Back to start’) is sorta odd for a GPS watch.  Though again, I suspect use of these features is just very low overall.

For me though, it’s pretty much exactly what I want in a GPS running watch.  A well waterproofed unit that just simply works, day in and day out – with little maintenance overhead and full integration with 3rd parties.

Found this review useful? Or just want to save a bundle? Here’s how!

Hopefully you found this review useful. At the end of the day, I’m an athlete just like you looking for the most detail possible on a new purchase – so my review is written from the standpoint of how I used the device. The reviews generally take a lot of hours to put together, so it’s a fair bit of work (and labor of love). As you probably noticed by looking below, I also take time to answer all the questions posted in the comments – and there’s quite a bit of detail in there as well.

I’ve partnered with Clever Training to offer all DC Rainmaker readers exclusive benefits on all products purchased.  By joining the Clever Training VIP program you get a bunch of money-saving benefits, which you can read about here.  By doing so, you not only support the site (and all the work I do here) – but you also get to enjoy the significant partnership benefits that are just for DC Rainmaker readers. And, since this item is more than $75, you get free 3-day US shipping as well.

Garmin FR620 – Orange/White with HRM-Run [without HR strap]
Garmin FR620 – Blue/Black with HRM-Run [without HR strap]

Additionally, you can also use Amazon to purchase the unit (all colors shown after clicking through to the left) or accessories (though, no discount). Or, anything else you pickup on Amazon helps support the site as well (socks, laundry detergent, cowbells). If you’re outside the US, I’ve got links to all of the major individual country Amazon stores on the sidebar towards the top.

As you’ve seen throughout the review there are numerous compatible accessories for the unit. I’ve consolidated them all into the below chart, with additional information (full posts) available on some of the accessories to the far right. Also, everything here is verified by me – so if it’s on the list, you’ll know it’ll work. And as you can see, I mix and match accessories based on compatibility – so if a compatible accessory is available at a lower price below, you can grab that instead.

AccessoryStreet PriceAmazon LinkClever Training - Save with the VIP programClever Training Europe (Save 10% with DCR10BTF)
Copyright DC Rainmaker - Updated August 16th, 2016 @ 5:50 am
2013 Recommendations: Running GPS Watches
2014 Summer Recommendations: Running Watches
2014 Winter Recommendations: Running Watches
Garmin 220 Replacement Band (Purple/White, Black/Red) - Compatible with FR220/FR620$25N/ALink
Garmin 620 Replacement Bands (White/Orange, Black/Blue) - Compatible with FR220/FR620$25N/ALink
Garmin ANT+ Heart Rate Strap (Classic Plastic Strap) - HRM1$37.00LinkLink
Garmin ANT+ Heart Rate Strap (Premium Soft-Strap) - HRM2$69.00LinkLink
Garmin ANT+ Heart Rate Strap (Premium Soft-Strap) - HRM3$50LinkLink
Garmin ANT+ Heart Rate Strap (with Running Dynamics) - HRM-Run$99.00LinkLinkLink
Garmin ANT+ Replacement HR Strap (for HRM3/HRM-RUN - just the strap portion)$28.00LinkLink
Garmin ANT+ Running Footpod (Mini)$45LinkLink
Garmin Approach S6 Watch Band (Orange, Black, White) - Compatible with FR220/FR620$25N/ALink
Garmin Bike Mount Kit (for mounting any watch onto handlebars)$10.00LinkLink
Garmin FR620 Charging/Data Cradle Magnetic $25N/ALink

Thanks for reading! And as always, feel free to post comments or questions in the comments section below, I’ll be happy to try and answer them as quickly as possible. And lastly, if you felt this review was useful – I always appreciate feedback in the comments below. Thanks!

Finally, I’ve written up a ton of helpful guides around using most of the major fitness devices, which you may find useful in getting started with the devices. These guides are all listed on this page here.

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  1. MJ

    First! 🙂 Been waiting for this. Thanks, DC R 🙂

    • WL

      My main issue with heart rate devices over the several that I have owned has been spike/drop out. Am I clear in my understanding from your review of the Garmin HRM Run, that this product breaks new ground (over all other entries) in improving heart rate readings, even in cold climate situations?

      Thank you

    • That’s correct. For example, yesterday I wore it all day skiing.

    • chris tesvich

      I would like to know where did you purchase the Garmin item that is on your bike? It looks like the watch just wrap right around it.

    • It’s just the generic ‘bike mount’, listed as the last row right now as ‘Garmin bike mount’ in the accessories table above, about $10.

    • pr

      the 10% discount code @ clever training doesn’t seem to work…

    • Herecura

      Great review of the watch, it helped to understand the functions.

      Still I wonder if this firmware update giving back basic navigation “to get to the start” is anywhere closer?

      I liked the features and especially the size / weight of the watch, but still I’m wondering if I’m not better of with the 610. Is there any compromise out there of a light GPS sports watch which leads you back your way?

    • No, not at this point. It doesn’t sound like it’s on the confirmed list for a spring update. Keep in mind Garmin hasn’t promised anything there.

    • jolie

      I couldn’t get the discount code to work, either.

    • Katherine

      Does the code for the 10% discount still work? I just tried it but it says not valid. Is there a code that does work?

    • Hi Katherine-

      Yup, the Clever Training 10% discount still works, but for the FR620 and 7 other products at this point Garmin requires usage of the DCR Clever Training VIP program. Don’t worry, it only takes a split second to sign-up and you get other benefits like the faster shipping and that it supports Girls On The Run.

      Details here: link to dcrainmaker.com

      Thanks for the support!

  2. zkaizen

    Thanks for the great review, just placed an order.

  3. Fabian

    Nice, time to buy one!

  4. Thank you for the review, and so close to the actual public release! I’m looking forward to doing my own evaluation, when they start general shipments.

  5. Josh

    great review, keen for your review on the 220. Will make up my mind then

  6. Thor R

    Excellent, this confirms I made the right decision to preorder from Clever Training a few weeks back. Thanks Ray.

  7. Bill Stanton

    Looks like a fun running watch.
    For me it is a pity that Garmin is phasing out the navigation functionality from the newer running units. With my (now defunct) 305 I used to map a run on my computer prior to a run in an unknown city, transfer it to thr unit and go out confident that I would be able to discover new places and not get lost. My current 410 has some basic (arrow) navigation function, which kind of works and is better than nothing. I suppose I will have to wait and see if the new functionality of the 620 is brought onto a 910xt kind of unit and Garmin does not drop the navigation features (breadcrumb-style track one can actually follow) at that time. But perhaps with the much wider usage of gps units nowadays Garmin is dropping us more geeky runners. Oh well

  8. dragos

    No A/C adapter in the box ?

    • Nope. I suspect by now everyone has a USB port somewhere in their house.

    • Mike P

      As always, spleeeendid review, many thanks Ray!!

      I suppose it will work fine with ‘older’ Garmin A/C adapters (e.g. the ‘standard one’ provided with the FR610) – and with similar ones, like for the iPhone?


  9. Tom_dew

    Awesome review ! Thank you Ray.

  10. Don van D

    Thanks for another great review! Looking forward on your FR220 review too.

  11. Emlyn Simpson

    I don’t understand why in the pace (and speed for that matter) across the forerunner (and edge) ranges we haven’t ever seen averaged pace/speed in the last 3 seconds, 10 seconds (like we get for power) to assist with pacing when current pace on some of these devices fluctuates just by running in a city or by a tree line.
    Was hoping to see this in the expanded list of metrics, but alas no.

    Is there only me who thinks this would be useful? (3sec pace would be much better than current pace I think).

    • I think they’re aiming to simply solve this at a more basic level. I’d agree defined smoothing could be useful, but also just making the number more accurate to begin with solves it too.

      I’ll add in a video in the coming days showing the instant pace. It looked pretty clean to me.

  12. RobM

    Best product reviews on the internet!!

  13. Doug

    Thanks for that Ray, another comprehensive review. Disappointed to hear the run metrics won’t come to the 910xt 🙁 Hopefully Garmin will change that!

  14. Eyal

    Thanks for the review. what about the battery life? how long will it last is a day to day watch?

    • It’s 10 hours in GPS-on mode, and 6 weeks in standby mode. This one is always really hard to test during the review cycle because I tend to be using it constantly (i.e. photos, workouts, etc…).

      However, looking at battery percentages used during my longer 2hr runs, I didn’t see a substantial drop beyond what I’d expect for that timeframe. I’ll likely do a test tomorrow with just turning GPS on and leaving it on overnight to see how long it runs.

    • Ray, 6 weeks in stand by conflicts with the 10 weeks you stated in the review.

  15. Amy

    Thank you for the in-depth review! As a first-time runner, I’m very interested in purchasing a Garmin GPS watch. I’m a bit of a data junkie and after reading your review on the 620, I find myself contemplating whether or not a beginner like myself actually needs a 620 more than a 220. Obviously, I could do with a watch that’s more on the budget side, but I find that these 2 watches are the most appealing of all the others I’ve looked into. It has a very nice design aesthetic to them, which I find others to be less easy on the eyes.

    Would you and your wife (The Girl) recommend the 220 over the 620 for me?

    • She was perfectly happy with using the FR220, and then she found the FR620. Her single reason for wanting to use the FR620 over the FR220 is she likes the four data fields vs three data fields on the FR220. Specifically, the ability to have: HR, Pace, Distance, Time, all on one screen.

      She’s not happy though with the FR620 colors, and really wanted the FR220 purple. She settled on ordering the FR620’s orange/white.

      For a running beginner though that may not yet be conditioned to four fields like she is (it’s just what she’s trained with for a number of years now), I think you’ll be happy with the FR220.

    • Dean

      Amy, considering this will be your constant training partner for a few years, buy the 620. As your running improves you will have lots of data to look back on to evaluate your progress. You won’t be disappointed.

    • Amy

      Thanks for the tip, Dean! I ordered the 620 with your advice in mind! Just wish Roadrunner Sports would stop delaying the shipment time but I guess I can’t blame them since Garmin is dictating it to them. They were supposed to get shipment today but I called again and they said it has changed to next Friday, 11/15. *crosses fingers*

  16. David Gohberg

    What’s the point in guided workout if I can’t tell If I’m going faster or slower than my target pace and by how much? Very disappointing for a product that’s supposed to be top tier…

    • To clarify: It always shows you the view above, but when the pop-up alert happens as seen below, it doesn’t say “High/Low” there.

    • David Gohberg

      Does it vibrate after completion of each step in the workout?

    • Shelley

      I’m with the Girl, it’s silly but I want the 620 in purple too. I will be doing the same thing, ordering it in orange/white. I also want it over the 220 for the same reasons, being able to have 4 data fields all on one screen. So excited that this watch is finally shipping, even though it will be a few more weeks before I can get it.

  17. Wilco

    Another great review, thanks!
    No “Cycling mode” (or any other mode) is a real downside for me. Hopefully they add it in the near future.

    Looking forward to your 220 review.

    • Luke

      I totally agree, it is too bad they’re not “initially” supporting cycling.
      Do you have any sense whether they will be including cycling support (cycling mode as well as support for speed/cadence sensor) in a firmware update?
      I currently have a 610 that I like (but some limitations, like waterproofing and the crappy band) annoy me. I’m certainly happy to make the jump to the 620, but I’m flirting with getting into triathalons and I don’t want to have to buy (right away) a dedicated bike device like the Edge. Cycling functionality would be a big plus for me…
      Garmin, please add it!!!

  18. Arno

    Thanks for the review! But, I thought the new FR220/FR620 would have color screens? (link to youtube.com)

    • The color is only used within the VO2Max & Recovery Advisor chart (post-run), Running Dynamics chart/gauge (during run), and the little satellite reception indicator bar on the home page (pre-run). You can also slightly tweak the base time screen to show color trimmings as well. That’s all.

  19. dave

    Ray, many paler plastics tend to go a bit yellow in direct sun after a while. I’m planning on living back in NZ within the next 12-18 months, and as the UV there is pretty savage have Garmin said anything about cosmetic durability? A minor point perhaps but it’d be interesting to know.

    • We haven’t seen any issues historically with fading of the plastics and/or colors in other fitness units. Nor seen issues with the white FR610’s getting/staying dirty either.

      Of course, time will tell, but track-record wise things look good.

    • robert

      Relative to U.V. stability:

      A manufacturer’s past track record is probably the best indicator, although slip-ups may occur. A manufacturer’s selection of “engineered plastic” materials for use in products like these should typically include U.V. stabilizing agents to maintain a material’s color and/or mechanical properties. There are labs set up in the southwest US that product manufacturers contract with to provide accelerated and long-term testing of material properties in this regard.

      A well-engineered product from a well-regarded manufacturer would hopefully reflect significant effort in this area. On the other hand, I had two Garmin Forerunner 305 bike mount clips fail within weeks of each other (one on my bike and one on my wife’s — both were installed at the same time).

    • Anita

      I had an issue with the white 610, it turned yellow-ish, and that prevented me from buying the 620 in white. I have asked around to people who have had the 620 now for several months and this doesn´t seem to happen to it

  20. soomba

    Excellent review Ray- does the 620 have the virtual racer/ partner (ie- the wee man running beside your) that the 610 has? Know this is not on the 220.

    Thanks S

  21. Mike

    Ray, thanks for the great review.

    Can you choose whether cadence data is taken from the HRM-Run strap or the internal accelerometer? Is the only advantage to having the HRM-Run strap to get vertical oscillation and ground contact time?

    I assume there is no ‘fused-speed’ feature as on the Suunto Ambit?

    The display fields don’t seem to include ‘time left to go before the end of the current interval’ (i.e. a countdown to the end of the current lap) and GPS accuracy (both available on the 610)? I like to use the former when doing intervals, especially with varying lengths. The GPS accuracy is helpful for knowing how long to wait for a good satelite lock in order to avoid GPS error at the start of a run.

    When the mobile phone upload is available, will that be a way to transfer the data directly to Training Peaks?



  22. Josh

    This watch will successfully replace my trusty 305 which I will still keep for sentimental sake. It is what helped me go from non athlete to all out half and full marathoner. Your full review has me super excited about receiving mine from Clever Training. 4 data fields, a wristband that sits flush to your wrist, VO2 max, touch screen, it could quite possibly be the perfect watch. I had originally ordered the orange/white but cancelled it a couple weeks ago and switched to blue/black (with 3 kids and 2 dogs I’m constantly on the move and the white would have for sure taken too much of a beating). Hopefully this switch didn’t put me too far back in the receiving order! Thanks again for everything you do and I look forward to continuing to follow your site. On a sidenote, I do a tremendous amount of business in Europe and turned your site onto a co-worker who lives outside Dortmund after seeing that post last week. He is a competitive biker and found the site very informative and interesting!

  23. Kjell-Tore

    Hi Ray.
    Good review, as usual. I realize I’ll still be hanging on to my 500EDGE and FR610, as the 620 misses several important features for me; Cycling data and Tanita Scale connectivity.
    On the other hand I love their improvements on the HR stability (which was anoying on older models, but I solved it using the HR pod on a Polar belt). The calculation/prediction on VO2 is also an awesome feature, not completely accurate but fine seen in a relative aspect!
    Thanks for your rewievs, keep up the good work!

    • Daniel

      Hi Kjell-Tore,

      What exactly did you do to fix the HR stability ?
      Which Garmin pod on which Polar belt ?


    • Kjell-Tore

      Hi Daniel.

      I used the Polar soft strap:
      link to polar.com
      It was purchased on Amazon:
      link to amazon.com

      Together with the newest Garmin HR Transmitter, see DC doing the same in this post:
      link to dcrainmaker.com

      Remember to trim the rubber to avoid the transmitter popping out.

    • daniel

      Thanks alot!

      I am still using the old plastic belt with my lovely FR 305. However the battery capacity is very low nowadays and I have sent it to the Garmin Service.

      I was afraid of all the newer Garmin belts, but this note does remove all concerns of the newer HR pods 🙂


  24. Lieke

    Great review! I’m looking forward to your FR220 review, because that’ll probably be the watch I’m going to order.

  25. Elliot

    How is the battery life? Is it confirmed at 10 hours?

  26. Christoph

    As a linux user, I would like to know if the wireless settings can be manged without the garmin software.
    Could you please have a look in the settings folder and grep for your wifi network?
    On the fenix all settings are in xml files. Maybe its the same with the 620?

    • No, there’s nothing in the WiFi folder. The Settings folder just has the Settings.FIT file, whether or not that contains settings details you’d have to be able to parse that file (not much like an XML file, it’s binary).

      That said, I’d suspect/hope they’d encrypt that anyway upon adding it to the device. That said, you should be able to spin up a VM and access it pretty easily that way to set it once and forget it.

    • FIT files are binary files which can be parsed with the FIT SDK:
      link to thisisant.com
      (you may have to register which is free to do)

      Don’t think anyone spent the effort to parse none workout fit files yet though if you’re looking if someone else did it already

  27. Chris

    Thanks for an excellent review.

    It is a shame that the internal accelerometer doesn’t have the same manual configuration option as the foot pod. I’ll stick with the foot pod for now.

    Is the HR/Running dynamic transmitter compatible with the HRM3? If so, just wondering if anyone is selling the transmitter alone. I’ve just replaced my old strap with an HRM3.



  28. Jani Ollikainen


    I would like to know more about how one uses touch screen and is it needed to use the device? As it has four buttons and that should be enough for UI usage. Is touch screen a extra or needed to scrolling up/down or?

    As I’m little bit sceptical to touch screens. At least that touch bezel thing was bad.

    • Hi Jani-

      The touch screen while running is solely used to change the display screens (or navigate menus). The buttons are used for start/stop/lap/light.

      The touch screen on the FR620 works really well and mirrors that of the FR610 – which also works really well (I’ve never heard complaints about that). Whereas the FR405/FR410 touch bezel was a nightmare with people either loving it or hating it (mostly hating).

    • Michael

      My wife has a 405, while I had a 410 until it recently broke (the fragile strap is the real bugbear for the 405/410). I found the 405 bezel a pain. The 410 was fine. I didn’t love it, but I didn’t hate it either – it worked okay.

  29. Larry

    What about glonass support?

  30. Another great review Ray.

    Really annoyed that they are dropping the cycling fuctionality. I am priamarily a runner but can’t justify two different computers for running / cycling. I am not a triathelite so a 910 doesn’t hit my radar but I have a feeling that I am goiung to be pushed that way.

    Oh well. Will see what Garmin do next,

  31. Great review, Ray! I am anxiously waiting to get this. Question, I saw you mentioned above that shipments are going out today but I received an e-mail from Clever Training last week that they were going to ship mid-November (I placed my order a few weeks ago). I am just nervous because I am headed back to the US for two days next week and really was hoping to find it waiting for me (I am selling my 910XT while there). Do you know if Clever Training is shipping as well?

    • They are indeed starting today, but realistically only for people who ordered in the first few hours on announcement day.

      Ultimately the FR220/FR620 heavily exceeded expectations from Garmin’s side, and thus there’s a pretty solid backorder.

      For example, starting today all the top retailers are getting the same number of units. But that number is tiny (roughly a couple of dozen each), compared to the backorder of units. Thus the dates Clever is giving are based on your position in line relative to inbound units.

      Of course, that’s variable based wholly on what Garmin tells them – which…often fluctuates like tidal patterns: Daily.

    • Rick

      I just spoke with Clever Training and the woman I spoke with was very helpful.

      I don’t know if this jibes with any info anyone else has gotten, but she told me that their watches are due in by the end of the week and they plan to ship out immediately. I don’t know if that is for a second wave of deliveries or if perhaps information suggesting they began shipping yesterday is erroneous. She was speaking within the context of my pre-order.

  32. Matt

    Thanks for the detailed review. If Garmin is listening, here’s another vote for cycling mode. It is a must.

  33. Walter

    Hi Ray, a really useful review, but I can’t understand if Auto Lap is available during a scheduled workout.
    It’s one of the main issues I have with my FR610, especially when I follow one of the training plans.

    • It does not. It’s funny, I forgot about this limitation during my Saturday run when I was using the workout functionality. It got me all confused at first as I couldn’t figure out why it wasn’t auto lapping.

      I understand why this is the case technically – which is simply that the devices only have the concept of a lap, and it uses the lap to demark the sections of the workout. So there isn’t multiple tiers of laps, rather only one.

    • Walter

      Not strictly related to FR620, but I also understand the technical issue of running, in parallel, two different laps systems, the auto-laps and the workout laps, on the clock. Anyway, would be fair enough to have auto-laps at least on Garmin Connect (for run-analysis purposes), since would be trivial to calculate them by post-processing the FIT data.

    • Calum

      Ray – not sure if you’ll pick up on this (it’s a bit late!). The query I have is kind of similar.

      On planned workouts downloaded to the 620 (or the 220) for that matter, can you set up a workout that has (for example – this is the workout I did on Tuesday):

      1. warm-up
      2. 6 minutes @ threshold pace [and can you set the parameters i.e. 6:55 – 7:00 per mile]
      3. 60 second recovery
      4. 6 x 1,000m with 90 second recoveries [and with parameters i.e. 6:34-6:35 per mile pace]
      5. 6 minutes @ threshold pace
      6. cool down

      On top of that, just to understand – if I set up a workout downloaded from a plan that is something like this weekend’s workout which is 12 miles @ easy pace, is the above saying that it will just be one big lap of 12 miles unless I specifically set it up otherwise? Can I add in the parameters of the easy pace in there too (so that I get alerts if I’m going too fast / slow)?


      Great review by the way!

    • Hi Calum-

      Yup, no problem. Here ya go, I just created it for fun on Garmin Connect, your exact workout: link to dcrainmaker.com

      And correct, unless you setup either auto-lap or manual laps, it’ll just be one big lap. And yes, no problems creating simple/quick alerts on the watch for things like that.

      One minor tip however, is that while you can build workouts with tight ranges like 6:34-6:35/mile, I generally wouldn’t. Simply because the GPS will vary bit, and you’ll get constant beeping. I’d add the lap pace screen, and pace to that, while setting an alert threshold at 6:30-6:40, or perhaps 6:25-6:45.

  34. CH

    Do you know if the new hrm can be used in 910xt with all the running dynamic functions?

    • No, the FR910XT doesn’t take advantage of the HRM-Run additional functionality. There are no plans to update the FR910XT to do so.

    • Walter

      Not strictly related to FR620, but I also understand the technical issue of running, in parallel, two different laps systems, the auto-laps and the workout laps, on the clock. Anyway, would be fair enough to have auto-laps at least on Garmin Connect (for run-analysis purposes), since would be trivial to calculate them by post-processing the FIT data.

  35. Tim

    They really highlight the live tracker feature in the commercial, but I don’t think they make it very clear you need to carry a iphone with you to make it work. I mean if that guy has a phone on him while hes running it must be strapped to his back. lol But this is the running watch I have been waiting for all my life. It checks off every point I could hope for in a watch. Having wifi sync, light weight, works with gloves, everyday watch and vibration alerts since I could never hear the high pitch beeps on most watches. This also makes me excited to see the next 910 is going to look like.

  36. Michael

    Dc could you please confirm if a Suunto Heart Rate monitor and Footpod will work with both the 220 and 620? Still not sure which model to go with but do have Suunto accessories which could come in handy. No surprise with the built in accelerometer here, definately a footpod for me when on the treadmill.
    Great review, appreciate the work you put into your site.

    • No, the Suunto HR and bike accessories are still ANT-only, thus not ANT+ and therefor not compatible with the Garmin units (or, any other unit for that matter).

      The Suunto footpod however, if the small one is what you have, is actually ANT+ and does work with the FR220/FR620 (and in fact, is what I used for much of my testing).

  37. jeff

    Good review Ray.
    The comparison table above are for the 210 and 220 … Should it have had 610 and 620 tables ?

    • The first two columns are the FR210/FR220, but the 3rd and 4th columns are the FR610/FR620. I’ve seen most folks looking at these units comparing them to these four (rather than 3rd party units). Of course, you can always click to modify the units being displayed and mix and match.

  38. Ray,

    Can you set the wake up alarm to vibrate ? I need this on an everyday watch (earplugs) but currently have a special watch for it. Would be one less device to keep track of ..


  39. Mario

    “Going forward into December I’ll be bringing both the FR220 and the FR620 down to 33m (~100ft deep) in an indoor facility designed for exactly this sort of thing, to test out the waterproofing myself. Should be fun!”

    Are you going to test Here link to nemo33.com love this place, only a long waiting list.

    Are you going to take the Fenix with u for that dive?

  40. Tom

    Looks like Garmin have made a really good running watch. Love how slim it is!

    Ray, do you know if there’s a limit to the number of laps it can record?

    Thanks for the review.

  41. BubbleMakerTrailer

    Hello Ray.

    On FR610 when in workouts with defined rest/active sections it was bugged. Logs were not showing them accurately stamped. So in sporttracks the filtering to see only active laps wasn’t working. Have you noticed this solved in FR620?

    Review was expecting from me, I am considering selling my FR610 to move ahead with the new one. Thanks for it. I would wait for the garmin connect mobile update since this is really a wish I got. By the way would be interesting to see if it would allow creation/update of workouts in the apps itself.

    • I’m not sure I follow. In workout mode each workout segment is simply converted to a lap. The FR620 (and FR610) doesn’t tag these specific sections differently – it simply sets a new lap.

    • BubbleMakerTrailer

      Sorry about being unclear. My focus was on the Workout intervals you can define.
      In Garmin Connect (or in the watch) you define the nature of the laps in your workout intervals: warm-up, Active, Rest, slow-down. The watch is actually producing standard fit/gpx files that allows for this Active/Rest flag to be set inside. Unfortunately all laps are set at Rest if you look inside the files, preventing SportTracks (Garmin Connect do not provide filtering) to filter those laps accordingly and compare them.

  42. simon

    thanks for the great round up

    if only they’d included ANT+ scale support (garmin were the reason I bought a Tanita) and allowed wireless upload to 3rd party sites then I’d buy

  43. Phil

    Hi Ray,
    Thanks for the great review. I’m torn between the 220 and the 620. I cannot see any comment regarding the practical difference between using smart recording and 1 second recording. Is the difference significant or hardly noticable.

    • Michael

      Good question, I am very interested in the difference between smart and 1 sec recording. Swaying towards the 220 depending on this issue. From a little research myself, appears there isnt much difference at running speeds, more an issue with bike speeds. Just what I have read with a few posts. Any enlightment would be great.

    • Not practical difference in 99% of situations. About the only difference I see is the reduced data rate tends to cause some slight abnormalities with some of the advanced Training Peaks metrics (3rd party site due to having about 75% less data points to pull from.

      But beyond that for running, not much practical difference in most cases. Trail running would probably be an exception, but realistically only for trails with significant switchbacks occurring frequently.

  44. jeff

    Ray, the .FIT file name does not look like garbage.
    My guess is the left “3” is Run or 2013.
    Then we have the Month 1 to 9, A to C (1 = jan , 2 = Feb…, A = 10 = Oct.).
    Next is the date, 1 to 9 then A to V (V = 31st).
    Next is the hour (1 to 9, A to O) D =1PM)..

    I’m still working on the last 4 digits to find the minutes.

    • Interesting, good catch. Still, I maintain it’s garbage for the average user trying to figure out which file to upload. 🙂

    • JeffP

      After looking at the data in your sample .FIT files, adding the Garmin time to a correction offsett gets you Unix time…
      The last 4 digits are the Minutes and Seconds when the first entry for that run/session was stored in the watch, Not the time the file was created and not when the Start button was pressed.
      The reason Garmin would have used this format is that the file names will always take up the same number of characters and will not get out of order at the change of month,day,hour…

  45. Jake

    Hi Ray,

    Thank you so much for your very thorough and honest reviews.

    I have a question about the Garmin FR620’s Wifi connectivity. On my home wireless network, I don’t have a “password” a device can use to connect to the network. I manage my network security by adding the device’s 12-digit Wifi address (D0:00:00:00:B0:0F for example). Does the Garmin FR620 have it’s own Wifi address?

    I love the idea of being able to connect it to my home network. I do currently use the iPhone 5, so I’d still be able to wirelessly upload to Garmin Connect, but it would be nice to upload if my phone isn’t nearby.


    • Correct, you could look at your routers DHCP table to look-up the Mac address of the unit. It looks like there’s an upload log file on the unit as well. It appears to include Mac addresses, but I need to run through it to see who’s are who’s. I’ll tackle that tomorrow.

    • jojijr

      On the watch

      Settings -> System -> About

      MAC Address should be there after 4 scrolls

    • The “security” discussed here is calles MAC filtering. This is trivially bypassed by “illegally” reusing MAC addresses on the list. A good choise would actually be a MAC from a device like the FR620 would be a good choice because it is only on the WiFi intermttently. The only safe way to keep strangers away from you wifi is to use wpa or wpa2.

  46. jeff

    What you call a WiFi address is called an IP ver4 MAC Or Hardware address. Yes it has to have one.
    The first 3 pairs are “Garmin”, the next 3 pairs are unique to every device.

    • Jake

      yes @Jeff, it’s the MAC list I was referring to. I’m no computer guru by any means, so I feel somewhat smart that I even know what the MAC list is. Ha…

  47. Sara

    Curious – with my FR610, upon completing a run, I tap the top right button thus stopping the timer. IF I wait roughly 2 minutes (without tapping bottom right button – completing and ‘sealing’ the run) I will get a screen showing my HRR (Heat Rate Recovery, how many beats my HR fell in that time). It’s just another indicator as to overall health.

    Does the 620 – or even the 220 do this?

    Thanks for all you do here, we all appreciate it!

  48. Eli

    Is the firmware on the new hr strap updateable? (If they keep tweaking the hr part then maybe they realized end users may want the tweaks without buying new

    The “Send to Device” button in garmin connect doesn’t work for the 620 to send personal records?

    Is the workout training calendar open? As in, can 3rd parties upload a training plan to the watch? (file format that gets uploaded to the watch)

    For the missing functionality, there is also the option of just waiting for the 910xt replacement which should have all the functionality of the 620 in it, although that may take awhile.

    hr run strap and footpod can be connected at the same time?

    Looks like the new filenames for fit files are still sortable in that sorting by filename gives you the order the workouts were done in

    • 1) I do not believe the HR strap firmware is upgradeable from an end-user perspective.

      2) That’d be sorta a pita to have to keep that all in sync each time. In my opinion there’s no reason they can’t do that every time you upload.

      3) Not that I’m aware of.

      4) Yes, the HR strap and footpod can be connected at the same time.

  49. Chris smith

    I love the two garmin’s I own, accuracy and functionality are great but the battery life is a killer! I need the simple functions of time, pace, average pace, distance, waterproof and at least a full 24 hours of life… Call it the “ultra GPS”

  50. Well, finally a insight of the tendency of garmin about the different protocols … coming from ANT+ after the Fenix (with bluethooth) the 620 goes to wify …

    Could be an opportunity to create new mobile applications to sync on the fly with our future garmin gadgets.

    Thanks for the great device review!!

    PD: Do you know if there’s any review of the garmin swim comming?

  51. Tim Churchill


    I see the 629 is now available in the US but I’m struggling to find any info regarding EU/UK shipping dates. The best i can come up with is amazon which seems to think April 2014!

    Do you have any insider knowledge regarding the release dates that wont involve me ordering from the states and having it shipped internationally with the lovely customs people charging me lovely import taxes!

    • Hmm, given how long disco music is still going on in the EU/UK after it left the US, I’d guess that April 2014 seems pretty reasonable. 😉

      That said, my understanding is that the UK was getting them as well this month through selected retailers.

    • Kev


      I believe Sweatshop have an exclusive on the 220 and 620 for about a month. They started selling online yesterday (5th Nov) and expect to have limited stock in stores within the next week.

    • Zoltan

      Sweatshop had a whopping initial stock of 12 (6 Black/Blue and 6 White/Orange) F620s.

      Earlier today they still had 5 and 6. I ordered a Black/Blue, so now it’s down to 4 and 6.

    • Mike

      I can’t believe the 6 and 6 allocation to Sweatshop. I ordered one black and one white Tuesday afternoon which doesn’t stack up with the comment that they hadn’t sold a white one…

    • Jakup Petur Eliassen

      I ordered a black/blue from Sweatshop as soon as it became available, but now I got an “Cancellation Note” email:

      “Dear Jakup Petur Eliassen, Unfortunately the items listed below are no longer in stock. As a result we have had to cancel these items from your order. You will not be charged for any of these items. Please accept our apologies for the inconvenience caused by this matter.”

      Very annoying! And all other sites are just preorder – who knows when they’ll ship. I want my watch NOW! 🙂

      Grrr,..guess I’ll have to be patient 🙁

    • Mike

      May be worth visiting your local store, Jakup. They’ve got them in my local Sweatshop so you may be able to pick one up directly.

    • Jakup Petur Eliassen

      After I sent sweatshop and email, asking if I could somehow be first in line when they did get them back in stock, they called me and told me they had got 30 or so today, and I was able to place an order for one 🙂

      I’m in Denmark, and no resellers have them here yet – so I’m thrilled! Great service by Sweatshop!

  52. Drew A

    Great review as always. I’m glad I got my preorder in early, really looking forward to trying out these new features and finally retiring my 305.

  53. Markus

    Hmmm…interesting watch and I like the woorkout functionality, but without cyclig mode and -even more important-without “find back” functionality it´s not really intersting for me. I´m running often in foreign cities (like you) and I need this “find back” functionality pretty often to find back to my hotel….

  54. trdjohn

    How about the annoying power off “feature” on the 610, can’t tell you how many times I’ve missed the alert 2 minutes before gun goes off and I’m scrambling to re-start the exercise and satellite connection? Can this be configured on the 620?

    How do you find the different font on the 620 to 610? Seems like 620 numbers are slightly taller but more narrow, than the 610? Love the large font on the Ambit 2 even w/ 3 metrics shown, compared to the font on 610 w/ just 2 metrics shown. Guess it sucks getting older…

    I would rather have had a watch with longer battery life at the expense of a slightly heavier watch…why didn’t they lighten up the internals but fill that space up w/ more battery?

    And I do have one complaint about the 610 touch screen…maybe mine is ‘special’ but swiping from left to right is horrible on mine, I have to be extremely deliberate in the swipe motion…almost impossible at speed…tapping the screen to scroll is fine, but the opposite direction is horrible on mine.

    • It has a new mode, called ‘Extended’. In this mode you can set it to turn off after 25 minutes instead of the usual 5 minutes. I’ll add a photo to the review here in a bit.

      I find the new font a bit nicer. Note that the thinner font is mostly just for menu’s, whereas you’ll see a thicker font for the actual data screens while running. So it’s slightly easier to read.

    • Simon

      I agree, a left to right sweep isn’t as consistent as the right left swipe on my 610. I find it slightly annoying.

  55. Charles

    Can you shutdown the unit like the 610? One nice feature in the 610 is I could travel with it and shut it down completely when not in use during travel and that saved the battery.

    • Yup, you can shut it down entirely (you can see that a bit in the video where I turn it on for satellite coverage). Just hold the upper left button down for a few seconds and it’ll prompt you.

  56. Paul

    Great review Ray. One question, I know you said you can set the footpod offset manually but can you still calibrate it outside on a track?

    • You don’t have full control over the footpod settings that way, but when you run it automatically updates it based on the GPS data (unless you’ve set it otherwise).

    • mandohack

      Ray: I didn’t see the 620 update the offset after my first run with a footpod. After reading your review, I didn’t set the calibration, assuming it would sort of follow the GPS and adjust the calibration factor. It did not. Is there a specific setting I missed?


  57. Nathaniel Woo

    Thanks for the review. Have you heard of Pegasus Sports Performance? I met them at a running conference early this year and it’s interesting that the 620’s Run Dynamics function is similar to Pegasus Sports Performance’s shoe sensor.

    link to psp-run.com

    Similar value proposition, but aiming for a different customer segment. It seems like Garmin is focused on the fitness/running enthusiast, while Pegasus Sports is focused more on the FOP runners.

  58. Andy

    Hi DCR

    Does 620 has the auto power saving mode like 610? quite irritating if have to keep monitor the gps status while waiting at the start line

    • It has a new mode, called ‘Extended’. In this mode you can set it to turn off after 25 minutes instead of the usual 5 minutes. I’ll add a photo to the review here in a bit.

  59. Christa

    What a fantastic review! I have been reading up about various models for 2 months now, including your initial and in depth review. Being able to compare the 620 with eg Suunto etc is brilliant and I am going for the Garmin now. Just tried to pre order though with CT and it says the discount code has expired?! Any heads up there? Thanks

  60. ben

    I like it but on a college budget i’m settling for the 220

  61. Ray: A great review as always. I have a question that I believe was answered at one point but I cannot seem to find it so PLEASE forgive me. When using the foot pod will you lose the ability to collect some of the running dynamics data and I thought I ready HR data as well? Is that still the case? In the winter there are some days where I may run a hard effort on the mill if the conditions outdoors prevent fast running due to ice or deep snow.

  62. Thomas

    A heads up do not order from Garmin Sweden the mez things up. There is a amount pree taken from my card but they’re telling me there is no order made I got a order confirmation.
    so will not get a watch befor all this is fixed…
    I’m leaning to get the money back and go for a Sunto watch.
    I am really pi….

  63. tony

    bought a 620 @ NYC marathon expo. seems good however I can’t see the colors on screen. been thru all settings. can u help??

    • The color is only used within the VO2Max & Recovery Advisor chart (post-run), Running Dynamics chart/gauge (during run), and the little satellite reception indicator bar on the home page (pre-run). You can also slightly tweak the base time screen to show color trimmings as well. That’s all.

  64. raven

    I would like some elaboration on what is possible with a footpod. I currently mostly run indoors on 200 meter track using the Nike+ footpod, which when calibrated is very accurate for me. I’m looking at this to add in heart rate data as well as the running dynamics, etc. (and to encourage me to run more often outdoors, but I’m primarily a track runner) I thought I read somewhere in the preview that if a footpod is configured with the 620 you lose the HRM-Run data? Perhaps I misunderstood.

    Assuming I had 620, HRM-Run, and footpad, and footpad was properly calibrated, GPS turned off for running indoors, would I still get all the non-GPS data (heart rate, running dynamics, recovery data, etc.) or is there something lost?


  65. Ron


    I know you said the new running dynamics do not work with the 910xt but when my last run got uploaded to Garmin Connect my cadence is gone and their is a running dynamics box and it shows cadence and average stride length. My cadence used to show between 95-100 now it is showing 178spm as average and 222 as max. What does this mean and where are the old numbers?


    • Correct. I talked about it a bit above, but Garmin swapped out the old one-foot driven cadence and simply doubled it for all past runs. It switched it on Thurs/Fri last week for all Garmin Connect activities.

      Running Dynamics is really more about Ground Contact Time (GTC) and Vertical Oscillation. Because the HRM-Run also does cadence (sorta duplicate), they decided to toss it into that branding for reasons that only marketing-type people will ever understand. So given you already had cadence from a footpod, it just plunked that in.

      So, as for your old numbers, they’re just half the new numbers.

  66. David

    Any ideas why there is a 33% difference in price between European and the US? i.e. €450 >>> $450

    • Because European import taxes/duties are a lot higher than the US, and, because costs for European companies are higher than the US. For example, when importing here into France there’s a 19.6% import duty. That rate varies by countries within the EU, but ultimately things simply cost more to get into the EU, and to support business units within the EU (said as a business owner in the EU).

  67. Palm35

    do you know if the 620 is compatible with the software Firstbeat ATHLETE ?
    The 610 was compatible with Firstbeat ATHLETE.

    • All of the internal VO2Max-type and HR recovery metrics are handled by FirstBeat on the unit (their technology). I have not loaded my files into the 3rd party FirstBeat software, though someone is welcome to and report back. I’d be pretty surprised if it doesn’t have all the extra data enabled by default.

    • Chris

      I emailed Firstbeat support about this. According to the reply, they are looking at it at the moment. The current version of Athlete sends a message to the 610 via the ANT agent to enable R-R recording. No ANT agent support for the 620, so I expect there’ll be a compatability update at some point.


    • Palm35

      I have downloaded your fit file ‘3B3C0246-18.5miLongRun.FIT’ and import it in Firsbeat Athlete software.
      It doesn’t work : I have 100% in the % error.
      I think that it is normal because, we must first enabled a setup in the watch (610 for me) from the software via the ANT agent to enable the R-R recording.(as Chris had written)
      So we are waiting an update from Firstbeat for the new 620

    • Chris

      FYI: I just pressed Firstbeat support to confirm that the 620 will be supported. The answer, is yes, but likely not until their next release, scheduled for March 2014 🙁

      A long time, but I can appreciate that it is probably a non-trivial change, considering the changes with the 620.

      Anyone sussed out how to manually switch on R-R recording?

    • Eli

      Can’t you enable it the same as the 310,610,910 by placing the special file in the newfiles folder?

      link to forums.garmin.com

    • Zian

      Just saw on Firstbeat’s site that manual importing of .FIT files is now supported for the 620.

      Instructions on how to enable the R-R recording feature on the 620 are at link to firstbeat.com

  68. ekutter

    with 4 fields displayed, will the workout duration show hours:minutes:seconds? Always annoyed on my 310/910 that it cuts down to hours:minutes (no seconds) after 1 hour.

    In general sounds like they tried to simplify the feature set compared to past releases. Hopefully this reduces the number of issues up front that I have seen on every other Garmin release. I’d rather seem them do this and add features later to make a more reliable device.

  69. Melissa

    Oh my goodness. It’s like Christmas up in here. 🙂

    DCR, I feel bad asking you about yet another detail, given the thoroughness of this review, but I have a q regarding the charger.

    You say that it clips on. Does it use the magnetized back like the FR610 to hold in place, or do those side “arms” on the charger actually snap around the outside of the watch? I fight a daily (losing) battle with my FR610 trying to get it to stay “just right” on those contacts, and knowing the 620 will “snap in” is key for me.

    • Montana Steve

      Yes — same question — I thought the 620 has a magnetic connection?


    • Sorry, I meant to say that I prefer the FR220’s, but transposed the 2 with a 6 (fixed).

      No, the FR620 is like the FR610, just magnetic. The FR220 is like the Fenix (near-identical), where it’s actually a clip.

      So it’s definitely better than the FR610, but I wish they just went the full way and made it like the FR220.

  70. Dave C

    Ray – great review as always. I use a 610 now and love it, but really looking forward to some of the new features with the 620.

    Question on file formats. Now, I upload my data to Garmin Connect, then export a .tcx file from there (they don’t offer a .fit export), which I then (manually) upload to TrainingPeaks. (I know TP has their device agent, but I don’t like doing it that way – for no explanable reason :-)). I this review you said you upload a .fit to TP. Aside from format, is there a difference when uploading .fit vs. .tcx to TrainingPeaks?

    Thanks for all the great work Ray.

    • Not much for the average user. The .FIT files tend to be slightly smaller, but for most consumers there’s no difference. It’s a ton different on the programmatic side.

  71. Mike P

    Hi Ray,

    many thanks for all your work and answering questions on top, much appreciated!

    Re VO2Max prediction, just for clarification: is the VO2Max number calculated anew after each run, or does the unit ‘learn’ so to speak in adding in each new run to refine the number?

    Or does GarminConnect – I see a “Trend” button in one of the screenshots.

    Looking forward to CleverTraining’s 620-package at some point this month – if my calculations are correct, with the DCR 10% it should still be a bit cheaper including taxes into the UK than buying here (and waiting longer 😉

    Thanks a lot!

    • trdjohn

      Ray – sort of similar question….does the 620 collect estimated VO2 at each sample point of each exercise (assume that’s part of how it calculates the VO2max?) and does Garmin Connect or any other 3rd party graph that? Ambit 2 & movescount has VO2 for each sample and you can graph it, and see bar chart ranges of your VO2 for each exercise…growing to like that feature for more intense workouts.

      Thx again for bringing the reviews and answering our questions.

    • It’s calculated following each run (at the completion thereof).

      Garmin Connect then takes that snapshot and charts it based on the completion of each run. For example, today I did a very short treadmill run and my VO2Max today was charted at 58 (yesterday was 57).

      There’s no visible subdividing of this below the activity-level on Garmin Connect, nor the watch.

    • Mike P

      Many thanks Ray!! 🙂

  72. Scott Gall

    Thanks for the review!!

    To be clear… the 620 Heart rate strap will work with my 610.



  73. jallen

    thanks for another excellent review! any chance of getting a measurement of the width of the watchband between the case lugs?

  74. alfarunner

    Is it possible to export the numbers from Garmin Connect to an excel file for further analysis?

  75. Roger Abrego

    Thanks for the excellent review, I was waiting for it. I was really exited of buying this watch but without the cycling option I am really thinking about it, I run and also do some Mountain bike, but I want to go also for the road bike so maybe I am going for the 220 and buy something to use it on the bike… but the 620 is really excellent for running… Do you think they add some cycling features? It’s seems it’s a running watch…

    • I suspect you’ll see something eventually. Interestingly, a reader noticed that in the Settings.FIT file there are hidden settings for bicycle wheel size (used in the ANT+ Speed/Cadence sensor). However, that could very well just be leftover from older unit code.

    • Luke

      As always, an amazing review. I’m in a similar situation to other people here: I have a 610 and would love to upgrade to the 620 but I don’t want to lose the biking functionality (especially since I bought the Garmin speed/cadence sensor)
      I’m a runner, but I just started biking to work, and will maybe do a triathlon in the spring. I’m stuck because I like being able to record my commutes but I’m not at a point where I need a stand-alone biking computer, and if I start triathaloning I don’t think I’ll want to spring for the upgraded 920x (or whatever they call it).
      Do you have any sense (that you can share) on whether Garmin will end up adding biking support to the 620? I hope they do, because I’d love to upgrade to it to get all the new (and awesome) features. I just don’t want to turn my bike sensor into a useless weight…
      Thanks, as always!

  76. Paul

    Bleh, Roadrunner is now telling me they won’t get theirs until the 8th.

    • matt

      i need to call them about it too now. when did you order? they told me i was their 2nd pre-order.

    • matt

      yep same nonsense. they say they won’t get it until the 8th, which means they won’t ship until monday the 11th. i understand it’s garmin delaying, but they keep sending emails with new confirmation dates and that’s causing the bigger issue.

    • dcv2002apv2005

      Got my email over the weekend also. I was in the city yesterday also for the race. I wish I saw the update from NYRC that they had some in stock. Anyways, I’m saving $90 ordering from RRS. I can wait. I guess. No I can’t. Hurry up!

    • Nate Thompson

      RRS just gave me the same date (11/8) for the orange/white 620 I ordered on 10/25.

    • matt

      hopefully it actually is right this time. i ordered 10/13 and got emails stating 10/25, 10/28, 11/4.

    • matt

      RRS just emailed me saying 11/15 now (even though their website says 11/11):

      “I’m really sorry that you did not receive an email informing you that the Garmin Forerunner 620 GPS with HRM Run Soft Strap you ordered is on backorder until 11/15.”

      No idea what’s going on. Looks like i wont’ have it for my race 11/17.

      Has anyone actually gotten a shipping notice?

    • Amy

      I just called to place an order on a Black/Blue 620 for RRS and they told me that they’ll be getting a shipment tomorrow, 11/8. So, I’m assuming it’s now ahead of online schedule? *crosses fingers*

      The girl told me that the 220 without HRM strap won’t be shipping out until beginning of December. So, my guess is that if you didn’t order it as a bundle, then it’ll take longer.

    • matt

      Email from RRS saying december 9th

    • Nate Thompson

      I’m pretty sure they don’t really have any good idea on exactly when their shipments are going to start coming in. I’ve been told different dates each time I’ve inquired (everything from they are arriving on 11/8 for shipment 11/11 to the expected arrival date is now TBD). While I can’t blame them for the supply constraints, I do wish they would at least be consistent with their message.

      At this point, as long as I get my watch before Christmas I’ll be happy… my 210 is performing just fine for now. =)

    • Rob

      I agree. Just set some realistic expectations. Under promise and over deliver.

    • Rob

      Called RRS and they indicated that mine will ship on 11/15. I’ll believe it when I have it in my hand.

    • Amy

      I messaged them and they said it has been delayed to 11/15. Then, I sent another email asking why the date they gave me is different from online and this was their response:

      “You deserve to know that our website says 12/9 (or possibly a later date as of now) for shipment of the Garmin Forerunner 620 GPS with HRM Run Soft Strap for someone who were to go online and purchase it today. As of right now, the backorder date for your current shipment is an estimated date.”

    • Nate T

      According to their Facebook page, RRS has started shipping units.

    • Amy

      I just called again and the guy now says 12/6 for me. Yet, I love how their website still says 11/18 if you order now. WOWWW…

  77. matt

    So I understand about the new extended 25minute timeout mode, but does the watch still act like the 620 where if you’re on the time screen it times out after 30 seconds and all other screens it doesn’t until the 5 or 25 minute mark? Also, is there a way to put it into standby mode manually or only by waiting for it to timeout?

    • trdjohn

      From the manual – its up on Garmin’s site

      Switching to Watch Mode
      You can put the device into a low-power watch mode that locks the touchscreen and maximizes battery life.

      NOTE: You can select to view the time of day.

      1 Select until appears. The device is in watch-only mode.

      2 Select any key (except – light), and tap the touchscreen to unlock the device.

      Doesn’t really say about the screen time out on the time screen – not sure the time screen is enable while waiting to start an exercise as there is now a button to display it?

    • matt

      thanks for the info. will check out the manual while i wait for this watch to get here… hopefully no more than another week or so

    • You can press the time button to quickly get back to the time display. Otherwise, it’s not a normal field in your training pages loop.

      You can kick it into standby by just pressing back a few times, it’ll go into that mode instantly.

  78. carlos nobrega

    will do Garmin Forerunner 220 In-Depth Review? when?

  79. Ralf

    Einfach!!!! also Klasse würde ich kaufen !!!!

  80. Jedrzej

    How is the readability in the dark conditions with backlight on(any chance of a photo) ? During winter months the good backlight is essential.

  81. James

    Hey Ray,
    Thanks for your hard work. I purchased the Nike GPS Sportswatch based on your review and have been very pleased with it but now after almost 2 years I would like more info. Does the 220 give me cadence without the foot pod? I don’t think I need to vo2 or ground contact but would like to know cadence. Still trying to decide which garmin to go with just don’t want to spend extra if not needed.Thanks

  82. Happy Runner

    Looking only at the running functions, is there any advantage to the 910XT over the FR620?

    • The FR910XT doesn’t include any Running Dynamics pieces (nor any of the WiFi/Bluetooth Smart/etc… stuff), nor Recovery or VO2Max. Beyond that the features of the FR910XT are similar.

  83. Marco

    Hi, first of all I like your reviews. But I’m curious if you plan to review the Adidas Smartwatch too?

  84. Aaron

    This is Awesome, thank you so much for the review. What is the additional 4th button for? Perhaps I missed this? Any chance it is for the clock. I love the touch screen but not a fan of the 610 needing to scroll through for the clock and then scrolling again to get back to my pace.

    Thank you

  85. Florian

    Great review, waiting for the 220 tomorrow. Is the difference between the 620 and 610 really big enough to make it worth about 200€ more expensive?

  86. Harmless Harm

    On the running metrics (ground-contact-time, vert oscillation):
    1. Is there a white paper available from Garmin how to interpret the data, or Garmin just throws the data to user?
    2. Any idea on stability and reproducibility of the metrics, e.g. within a run or between runs (assuming same running style (which is hard to prove I admit:)))?
    3. What about influence of temperature and/or humidity?
    4. In case one is not interested in HR (but the metrics), can the strap be worn as ‘race-number-belt’?
    Thanks for review!

    • 1) No white paper, though, the video actually does explain it pretty well.

      2) It’s interesting, I’m definitely seeing trending within the same types of runs (i.e. long runs). Where it gets more complex is how variable the terrain is that I run across. Meaning, nice never-ending running paths, or across the city with lots of ups and downs.

      3) Seeing nothing there.

      4) Hmm, not sure on that. I’d suspect it might jiggle a lot there unless you had it pretty tight (since unlike a race belt the entire strap doesn’t contract).

  87. rosko

    Great review as always. Lack of navigation & battery life mean i will not invest, i can maybe understand them not wanting to pull sales from the Fenix, but the Fenix is not that great for running. Imo they are missing out on sales for not catering for ultra runners with the 620. So i’m leaning towards the ambit 2s @ £250 vs 620 @ £375, i can always use my 405 for intervals which is the ambit’s main shortfall.
    Vo2 has limited usefulness in my opinion & I think the Ambit has this feature anyway. I already have a foot pod so would not gain cadence & although interesting, ground time & oscillation are not worth the extra money. I have a high speed record mode on my phone that records video in slow motion & this is a good way to check running form. I must admit though the idea of having more pretty graphs to look at is a bit enticing.
    I think we will see more 3rd party running dynamic products like the motion scribe coming out over the next year so i’m willing to hold out on that side of things.

  88. Raymond_B

    Since the Auto-Lap does not work with workouts I am assuming Auto-Pause does not work either? I really, really wish they could figure something out for Auto-Pause and Auto-Lap and workouts!

  89. Meike

    Thanks a lot for this fantastic review! You did a great job! Can’t wait to get my new Garmin 😉 Unfortunately it will only be available in about 4 weeks in Germany 🙁
    Do you have any idea if the FR 620/220 will work with the heartstrap of FR 310 XT?

  90. Meike

    Thanks a lot for this fantastic review! You did a great job! Can’t wait to get my new Garmin 😉 Unfortunately it will only be available in about 4 weeks in Germany 🙁
    Do you have any idea if the FR 620/220 will work with the heartstrap of FR 310XT?

  91. Tyler

    Any word on compatibility with Android phones?

  92. carlos nobrega

    the FR 620/220 will work with the heartstrap of FR 310XT?

  93. Tony

    Hi Ray
    It’s time for me to buy a new HRM, and I like the feedback you’re giving to us about it, although I do have a question about the new HRM. I know the Running Dynamics is only supported by the FR620, but if I were to use this new HRM with my 910xt, will it see the cadence info from it? Or will I need to use a footpod? In other words, will this new HRM broadcast both the HR and cadence data to my 910xt, or just the HR?



  94. Vito

    Is it possible to upload on Endomondo Site the workouts ?

  95. Jeff

    I bought one (including the new HRM) at the NYC Marathon Expo and used it in the race yesterday. I was coming from a Forerunner 610. A few initial thoughts:

    1. It is way lighter than the 610. The fact that the band can lay flat is nice for packing, charging, etc.

    2. It frankly feels cheap, compared to the 610. Sort of Timex-like in build quality. I’m sure part of it is perception due to the relative lightness, but the face and buttons all feel just cheaper. The 610 and the 310xt before that had a premium (to my eye and wrist) feel. I preference the reduction in weight over the reduction is look and feel… So all good by me. Just saying, if you do care about these things…

    3. The “color” of the screen is useless. Don’t expect some fancy display that looks like a iPhone or Android device. I think you need to go Adidas or something else if that’s what you want.

    4. The satellite signal acquisition improvement is dramatic. Living in NYC, this is a big deal for me. I used to have to remember to put my 610 out on the balcony in advance of a run to let it get a signal. The 620 really is less than 30 seconds from unlock to signal lock. Great.

    5. It is a bummer the iOS app has not been updated yet for Bluetooth 4.0 synchronization. So for now that’s a theoretical benefit only. Hopefully it will be well implemented when the updated app rolls out. The reviews on the app store are pretty dismal though for the current version.

    6. I couldn’t find the specs on what WiFi protocol it works with. Perhaps the author knows? My home setup was strictly 802.11n. I had trouble getting the WiFi sync to work so I hooked up an old 802.11g router, which fixed the issue. A bit of a bummer if it’s true this doesn’t offer 802.11n in late 2013.

    7. My first run on Saturday showed wildly erratic pace data while actually running (but the mile splits were right on). During the marathon, pace data seemed to move up and down more smoothly and generally be more accurate.

    8. The ability to tap the screen to move between data screens is a blessing and a curse. I found the swiping function on the 610 to be less than reliable. Tapping is definitely easier, but it also means there is the risk of accidentally tapping between screens. Not a big deal. Again, just pointing out.

    9. I haven’t run with a heart rate monitor in years, but decided to go for it during the race yesterday. It was pretty comfortable, so I didn’t regret it. As the author of the review points out, there’s a lot of interesting data provided — but I don’t yet know how to benefit from it.

    10. Battery life seems pretty solid. At the end of the race (and after hours of sitting around in getting to the race), I had 60+% battery life left. And this included having the backlight go on for 15 seconds for any button presses by me or the 1-mile autolap function.

    So all in all, a pretty positive experience. The #1 benefit for me — by far — is the fast satellite signal acquisition. #2 is weight. After that, I’m not sure there’s much incremental benefit above the 610. Hopefully as the firmware and smartphone apps get updated, the device will start to see more distance between itself and its predecessor. I think the jury will be out on that for a bit.

    • Hollyoak

      Thanks for the comparison. It indeed does not seem that the 620 adds a lot of interest to the 610 and with daily runs the accumulated GPS data in the 610 should produce similar results to the downloaded GPS data on the 620…unless they’ve found a better chip than the SiRFStarIV which seems unlikely. How did the actual track look? Any “bouncing” around?

      Oh and you can tap the screen of the 610 to cycle through screens 😉

      @DCRM – great review, thanks! You’d mentioned custom lap/autolap messages in the preview, is that feature still there?

    • No, that’s not there unfortunately. I suspect it’ll make it in an update though, they were pretty excited about it actually (the custom lap messages).

    • hollyoak

      @Jeff – actually I was wondering about what the actual track looked like, having used GPS inside NYC for the first time in 2005 with my FR205 I remember the tracks being very “wobbly” which comes down to physics really…Still I was a bit disappointed by how the FR610 tracks look like compared to the FR405’s and FR205’s but then the antennas keep getting smaller so…

      Not sure about the tapping on the FR610, I’ve only had mine for a couple of months after finally giving up on the FR405…

    • Jeff

      @Hollyoak. Sorry for the delayed reply. I think the tracking seems pretty good. I don’t focus moment to moment on pacing, so I wouldn’t necessarily pick up on the more minute bouncing around. My very first run, it was all over the place for the first couple of miles (but laps were right). Thereafter, it seems reasonably steady.

  96. Kyle Polansky

    I can’t believe that this watch doesn’t have a ‘back to start’ feature. I can’t count the number of times this feature has gotten me back to where I’m supposed to go. It’s one of the worst feelings ever when you are lost and have no idea how to get back.

    • Jeff

      Hollyoak, you mean the pace track data? On the Garmin Connect dashboard, it looked pretty stable. No major bouncing around. I didn’t go deeper into the data to see with more granularity. Or am I misinterpreting your question?

      On the tapping function of the 610, that explains a lot! Did they change that via firmware over the years? I seem to remember originally swiping left or right to move back and forth between screens. And then being frustrated the the swipe to go back never worked right! And that’s probably because it was always registering as a plain tap. Thanks for clearing that up!

      And to DCRM’s point, it does seem like there’s a fair number of features that are to-be-implemented. I think they really wanted to get product out early at the expo.

      @DRCM, do you happen to know the answer on WiFi protocol? Does the 620 max out at 802.11g?

  97. Don in Baltimore

    As always, very detailed and well appreciated review!

    Who needs an operator’s manual…

    I ordered mine from Clever Training. Thanks for the discount code. I even bought the 620 even though I bought my 610 only 11 days before the 620 was announced. Luckily, I found a friend who is buying my 610 for my investment after rebate!


  98. JeffP

    In the review your said “..you can’t set a goal time for an event (i.e. 3:30 marathon), nor can you see the predicted finish time based on your current pace.”
    This would be my ultimate motivator ( or depressor). What is the change this would be added in a later firmware and may only get added to the 620 and not the 220 ?
    I still have a chance to swap up from the 220 I ordered to a 620, it would be worth the extra cost.

  99. Richard


    Thanks for another great review.

    Garmin released a new firmware today (11/4), 2.30, replacing the Ver. 2.09 (10/22/2013) – probably the one you based your review. Since there is no Change-log available, do you see any relevant update in functionality? Or it is just a bug fix?


  100. Long Run Nick

    Ray, once again, a superb review. The running technology has come a long way since I started back in 1976. From a hand held stop watch, to Casio watches, a Fit Sense foot pod watch, the beloved Garmin 101-“the brick”, 305, etc,etc. Awaiting my pre-ordered (9/17) 620.

  101. Jennifer

    Hi, thanks for the great review, it’s clarified a few things for me, but I’m still undecided. I am a very new runner, just started January of this year and ran my first half in June. I have been using the FR 10 and love it for the most part, but was looking for something that I could use a footpod with for using a treadmill with the changing seasons. I’m pretty limited budge wise and have been tossing around so many options, was going to go with the 210, then decided I really wanted the 610. Then saw these were coming out. But knowing I won’t use most of the features, I’m still undecided between the older units which would probably be sufficient and maybe I’d be able to pick up cheaper now, or, to wait and save up for the 620/220? Any thoughts?

    • If you’re fairly new to running I’d go more for the FR220, or, see what (if anything) the holidays bring for discounts related to older units (history has shown they always do).

  102. Adam

    Thanks Ray for another great review!

    Does Garmin Connect have a way to track shoe mileage like Strava yet? (ie. by selecting the pair you were wearing for each run and tallying the miles on those shoes over time)

    • No, no method to track equipment.

    • Zach Brown

      I found a semi-workable solution for GC shoe tracking. If you create a goal you can pick a mileage target and a time frame. You can pick a start date that is in the past as well and up to one year target time. It has a few limitations, if you have multiple pairs of shoes, you would have to create different goals and categorize using different activity types, e.g. mizunos – trail running, brooks – street running. With one pair at a time it works very well just using the “Running” activity type.

    • Anton

      I tag all my runs with something like #BPF for my Brooks Pure Flow and #AFR for my Asics Fuji Racers in the notes of an activity. I can then search for that tag on the activities page and they will be selected.

      Rather a workaround than a solution to a missing feature that Garmin should have implemented a long time ago.

    • Jason

      I have requested the ability to track equines use a couple of times. That is one feature I like about the Nike site. I have also requested it from runkeeper. It has been about 5 months since I sent in the request and answered some questions. Having 5 pairs of running shoes, it would make it a lot easier. I did start using the free version of Trainingpeaks and it has the ability to track. Would be nice to have it in one app but it really doesn’t take long and Trainingpeaks works for what I need. Maybe one day I’ll get more involved with Trainingpeaks and use it for more of its potential.

    • Jason

      I have requested the ability to track equines use a couple of times. That is one feature I like about the Nike site. I have also requested it from runkeeper. It has been about 5 months since I sent in the request and answered some questions. Having 5 pairs of running shoes, it would make it a lot easier. I did start using the free version of Trainingpeaks and it has the ability to track. Would be nice to have it in one app but it really doesn’t take long and Trainingpeaks works for what I need.

    • Jason

      I have requested the ability to track equines use a couple of times. I have also requested it from runkeeper. It has been about 5 months since I sent in the request and answered some questions. Having 5 pairs of running shoes, it would make it a lot easier. I did start using the free version of Trainingpeaks and it has the ability to track. Would be nice to have it in one app but it really doesn’t take long and Trainingpeaks works for what I need.

  103. Mister Reed


    I’ve just stumbled onto your website, and greatly appreciate your detailed reviews. They are second to none!

    I’m researching a replacement for my aging (but MUCH LOVED) FR305 to track my runs & rides. I was leaning towards the 910XT (even though I don’t swim), but after reading your review of the FR620, I’m torn.

    Who do we have to “bother” to get a simple cycling mode added? 🙂 Is there place we can provide feedback to Garmin, urging them to make this simple change?


  104. Many thanks, Ray, for your wonderful review. However I’ve got two questions:
    1. Do you have any sponsored link for customers from EU? I am definitely buying FR620 but I would love to support your site and appreciate your work. Where should I order? 🙂 Unfortunately, due to customs it is not possible for me to order from US (well… It is possible, but expensive :-))
    2. Do you have any closer information about delivery dates in EU? For examplne Amazon UK says that estimated delivary is 1st April 2014 (!!!!).
    Many thanks! 🙂

    • Peter

      In the right bar on this side (at the top) Ray has posted localized Amazon links for some european countries through which you support the site.

    • You can indeed use the localized Amazon links in the upper right, directly below the Amazon logo. Simply click on the link to take you to Amazon, and then search from there for the product of choice.

      I wish I had a good answer for why Amazon UK believes it’s April 1st. Perhaps it’s their April Fools joke of some sort.

  105. Ilan

    If I only run outside, is there any advantage to using the footpod? Does it add enough extra accuracy to make it worth buying?

    Thanks for the great review!

    • If you only run outside, no, no advantage. When comparing cadence charts from both a footpod and non-footpod unit side by side on the same run, the differences are negligible.

  106. alfarunner

    You used to show, at least for Polar RC3 I think, how steady the momentary pace was. How is it with FR620?
    Does it fluctuate more than +-10 s/mile at a steady pace?

    • Hi Alfa (and all)-

      I just uploaded and added to a review a short clip showing the instant pace on the FR620 (and, in the FR220 review, on that as well). As you can see, it’s very stable.


  107. Anton Møller Christensen

    Do you have to plug it in to get data to sporttracks og can this be done by WiFi?

    • To get the data to Sport Tracks you’ll need to plug it in. You could technically export it from Garmin Connect to TCX and then import it into Sport Tracks, but you can never be sure the data is exactly the same data as the raw fit file.

  108. BubbleMakerTrailer

    Good morning Ray,

    Sorry for my previous post that was unclear to you on the nature of laps during workouts.
    In Garmin Connect (or in the watch) you define the nature of the laps in your workout intervals: warm-up, Active, Rest, slow-down. The watch is then producing standard fit/tcx files that contain room to store those Active/Rest flag status inside. Unfortunately all laps are set at Rest (even the “very” Active ones) if you look inside the files, preventing tool such as SportTracks (Garmin Connect do not provide filtering) to filter those laps on Active/Rest and benefit from a more efficient view. Not a big deal surely but a bit disappointing that Garmin didn’t fix that on FR610 Hopefully this is no more in FR620. If you are still unclear, you can provide me one of the fit/tcx that contain one of your Interval workout on FR620 and I can find out.

  109. Kjell-Tore

    Hi Ray.

    I would really like you to push on your “Garmin Buttons” to get the development team to include the cycling features into it, to make it even more competetive in the market!

    I guess I’ll still be hanging on to my 500EDGE and FR610, since the 620 still misses several important features for me; Cycling data and Tanita Scale connectivity.

    On the other hand I love their improvements on the HR stability (which was anoying on older models, but I solved it using the HR pod on a Polar belt).

    The calculation/prediction on VO2 is also an awesome feature, not completely accurate but fine seen in a relative aspect!

  110. Rogério Tavares

    Uma vez Garmim,sempre Garmim , vou comprar #português
    Once GARMIN, GARMIN always, I will buy #inglês

  111. Hello Ray; thanks for another solid review. I have one question. I had purchased a 610 and returned it because the alarm was not loud enough compared to my 310. Is the alarm in the 620 the same level of loudness as the 610? I found with winter running and hats, I could not hear the 610-too many Ramones shoes in the 70s I fear!

  112. gu_0233

    it’s a pity that 620 doesn’t support bicyle. if it does, i will chose 620, now i’m considering 910xt.

  113. MPL

    Great review! I’m in the UK – is there any reason why a 620 bought from the US would work differently than one I buy in the UK?
    I can’t think of any except maybe the GPS stuff but not obvious that would be a problem either. Thanks!!

    • Tim Grose

      I am in the UK and “forgot” once when bought some shoes from USA that you will get stung for customs import duty. That added quite a lot to the price! Otherwise should work fine. GPS works worldwide and I’ve used my Forerunners in various countries.

    • It works just fine in the UK from a US unit (said having a unit in Europe shipped/taken from the US). They’re all the same.

  114. Tim Grose

    Is it worth noting that it looks like it would still work fine on the bike – you could see Speed, Distance, Time & HR on one view – which is what I like to see running or biking anyway.
    Minor inconvenience of having to change from running to cycling when you upload to Garmin Connect.
    OK no (bike) cadence or power etc etc but with such a small screen there is only so much you could see anyway.

  115. alfarunner

    Thanks for the instant pace video. It seems the resolution is 5 s/mile=3 s/km, like Suunto.

  116. Hi, thanks again for an incredible review ! I’ll buy one trough Clever Training for your promo code for sure.

    Are you aware of any Garmin Connect revamp planned anytime soon ?

    GC has been looking the same for ages now, and third party sites like Strava have a more modern and appealing look. I think when you spend over $400 on a watch, it’s pretty evident you also expect to get a top notch platform to upload your data on.

    I’m well aware GC has lots of features, but its look and feel gives kind of an outdated sentiment.

    • Sorry for the typo.

      That “for” in my first sentence was intended to be a “with”.

    • Thanks for the support.

      I haven’t heard of a revamp, though it’s certainly possible.

      They have continued to add lots of little minor features though, and I suspect you’ll see that trend continue. When you look at features for runners, I actually prefer GC after Strava made their running side of the platform sorta useless last spring. For the cycling side, the functionality is way more interesting on Strava.

  117. Real

    Thx a million Ray! Sorry to be dense but can you expand on comment #108? I know the internal watch accelerometer auto calibrates after a few GPS runs. I didn’t know the footpod did the same? Since we can enter a factor manually, does this not mean we can run on trusted 400m track for a few laps (GPS off) and then indeed adjust the factor manually as you describe? This is important to me – although I’m pretty set on the watch.

    Would you also say that w/o GPS and with the footpod and HRM-Run there would easily be in excess of 100 hours of battery life? (Interest is ultrarunning here)

    Last one, above you state 40 hours or recording time (4M/100k). Without GPS and footpod, does this increase due to less data being recorded?

    BTW…Garmin shipping direct to Ottawa on November 8th 🙂 moved back from Nov 1st.

    • Yeah, it was interesting. So I reset everything on a unit (removed the sensor entirely, then re-added), and then went for a run. It had a calibration factor on there post-run that wasn’t there before.

      I don’t know on FR620 w/o GPS and just footpod. It’s been a while since I last tried that test (I did it with the FR910XT and it got 55 hours). Once I get in another couple of units I can set one aside to do it, but right now I’m kinda jammed up with needing them daily for both runs as well as to answer questions/etc…

      The file size w/o GPS doesn’t appear any smaller (still about 100KB), just looking at a few treadmill files.

  118. trdjohn

    Is battery charging time as painfully slow as the 610?

  119. Ilan

    Are wifi and bluetooth turned off when the FR620 is in “watch mode”? Is “watch mode” kind of like “airplane mode”?

    From your review, it sounds like wifi is turned off all the time except when a workout completes (i.e. when the timer is stopped) or when the “transfer” button is pushed. Is that right?

    • Correct, in ‘Watch mode’, all the sensors (GPS/WiFi/BT) are turned of. So yup, basically airplane mode.

      And also correct, WiFi is off during a run, and only turns on upon completion of a run to upload. It has a bit of a retry algorithm, and then gives up if not in range. When you get home, you can unlock the watch, tap the WiFi button and then it’ll transmit it up and put itself back to sleep a short bit later.

  120. Alfie

    As always, excellent reviews for both the 620 and 220! I noticed on the PC Software for the 620 it is Garmin Express Fit. Will the 620 also work with Garmin Training Center as I have all my custom workouts loaded into it?

    Also, on your 220 review, you incorrectly captioned the GPS track picture for the 220 on the wrist as a 610 on the wrist (the 610 would probably be deceased in the first 1/4 mile of the swim if on the wrist!)

    • Hmm, I haven’t tried GTC, but would be very surprised if it didn’t work (since basically the watch still works with Garmin Communicator as well as the same workout standards as other Garmin units).

      Thanks for catching the caption – just corrected it!

  121. Justin

    I have two questions about the new HR strap. The new Garmin HR monitor looks very different than the previous versions. Is there any difference in comfort from the previous Garmin soft strap versions? Could you use the new HR strap with older Garmin watches (310xt, 910xt)? I know the new run metrics won’t work; I’m talking strictly the basic HR functions (Current HR).

    • Not generally much of a difference in comfort, all fairly similar (excluding super-old plastic strap).

      And yup, you can use the newer strap with older units (I did that for all my testing).

  122. Diego

    Hi, awesome review, pretty extensive thought now considering buying the FR620 or the FR220 still got 2 doubts you may help me with:

    First, You raised a valid question at the beginning of the review which I do not feel it was really answered.. is it worth the cash over the FR220 which costs roughly half as much? Should we wait till your deep review of FR220 or you already made up your mind? 😉

    Secondly, I saw on the Garmin specs they mention a functionality included on FR620 missing on FR220, something called “Training Effect”.. is this finally not included on FR620? or not really interesting at all ? (I have pretty much no idea what it is, that’s why I ask about it)

    Thanks a lot!!, really helpful reviews/info on your blog

    • Diego

      Just right after I click submit on my previous comment (of course) I found your FR220 review and your thoughts about how both compared…. 😛
      Still would like to know your thoughts/comments about the “Training Effect” feature

    • I haven’t used TE too much. It’s there, but the prominence seems less – with the focus now more in simpler terms like Recovery Advisor and the nebulous Recovery Effect. I somewhat agree with this direction as the TE numbers were always kinda weird from a ‘What do I do with this’ standpoint for most users.

  123. Jeff

    I just spoke with Garmin tech support about WiFi compatibility (e.g., will it work over 802.11n). The answer is that it does not *currently* work over 802.11n (only up to 802.11g). What the tech could not answer is whether this is a hardware or software limitation, and if it’s software, whether there are plans to enable 802.11n via a firmware update.

    I hope it is the latter, as 802.11n really should be a baseline standard these days.

  124. sandi

    How good is the GPS/pace accuracy on the 620/220 in wooded areas? I have a 610 and live near a wooded area. I dont run “in the woods” but there are woods on either side of the road where I run. The 610 annoy the crap out of me by providing an inaccurate current pace readout (slower than I am actually going – I know this by feel). I actually feel it is worse than the 410 I had.

    • I didn’t see any issues in wooded areas. I’ve been doing a lot of runs up in a big wooded park wandering around without any noticeable issues.

    • Tarjei Vassbotn

      This could just be a flaw on my device/my running style, but the current pace/speed is very inaccurate.
      I have the 910 as well which I’ve found to be pretty accurate after the initial bugs.

      Today I went for an easy run, and the autolap (+Garmin Connect afterwards) states I did a 1K run at 5:28 (which is correct – run the same course for these easy runs, and it’s exactly 1K), although my pace was NEVER above 11km/h, in fact it bounced around at 10.3 – 10.6 km/h, way under what I was actually going.

      Also it seems to lag quite significantly.

      All of this tells me that the GPS is correct, but I’m suspecting it uses the accelerometer and that this messes up the calculation.

  125. John Famiglietti

    Terrific! All of my questions have been answered by the review or the comments here.

    I’d like to add my vote for having a cycling feature in a future firmware update. (It is Election day here in the US after all!) In the summer, I’ll take an easy bike ride in place of a run on an off-day. I use the 610 to record the ride because I can, not because I need to, but I do enjoy having the feature.

    I’m not going to miss any of the other features from the 610 that didn’t make it to the 620.

  126. Scott buchanan

    Hey Ray,
    Due to the colour not sure the 620 will make it as an everyday timepiece replacement especially in suit mode BUT would be interested on your thoughts regarding the ruggedness of the 620. I’m not immume from the odd trip/fall especially on trail runs also brushing and knocking against things. My 610 had a small crack/chip on the outer bezel after a fall. I’m suspecting the 620 is similar to the 610 in this respect?
    Great review as ever!

    • Dom

      Scott, a lot of 610 owners had the same problem with chips around the Garmin logo. I used a circular screen protector which fitted perfectly and I’ve had no problems with damage. If I pick up a 620, I’ll definitely do the same with that.

    • Montana Steve

      Dom — where did you find the screen protector?


    • Dom

      Mine came from link to protectionfilms24.com and was made by a company called Savvies. I think folks in the US were mainly using Zagg protectors.

    • The design on the FR620 is actually slightly different there. Notably that the bezel is raised up a bit higher than the watchface, presumably to minimize the impact of a fall there. I suspect also that the 50m waterproof rating of the FR620 may also mean slight increases there as well, over the 1m waterproof rating of the FR610.

  127. Randy

    This question can go both between the FR220 and the FR620, but the HR-Run on the FR620 seems like this might be a better place to ask.

    Can this with the built in accelerometer now track elipticals similar to the MotoACTV did?… And can the HT-Run add any benifit or accuracy to elliptical training?… I see that it will be considered a run until uploaded and affect the units “PR” stats, but right now I’m only getting HR data when I upload as “other” off a 910xt and changing it to Elliptical. One of the very few things I missed from the MotoACTV.

    I’d also be courious to what data would look like using the HR-Run for strength training and crossfit activities. Would it even work or does changing the activity on Connect to something other than Run remove the additional data points?

    • No, no other activities with the FR620 like the Motoactv.

      It doesn’t do anything on GC other than for categorization and showing different data fields (i.e. speed vs pace).

  128. Christian Edvardsen

    Thanks for another great in depth review! Pre orded the 620 some weeks ago. The first 100 units should come to Norway this week. Can’t wait for the store to call me!!

  129. Ville

    They had me until “Lastly, it should be noted that at this time Garmin has selected to make the transmission of the Running Dynamics data ‘private’, rather than open ANT+.” Very, very disappointed. It’s decisions like these that make me actively want to switch to another brand of swim/bike/run meters.

  130. Montana Steve

    Ray —

    Did you happen to test how quickly the 620 switches from GPS to Accelerometer mode, for example when going through a tunnel?


    • What’s interesting is that it actually doesn’t alert you it does it – at least, it hasn’t for me. It just does it. For example, on my long Sunday run (I think I linked above), you may be able to see where I went through a very long tunnel. You’ll notice very little change in pace while I’m in there (beyond it going slightly up at one end).

      The same tonight with a run below a long 1/3rd of a mile building where I generally lose reception.

    • Montana Steve

      Thanks Ray — I guess my question relates more to mapping — how does it handle that? My daughter ran the Detroit Half-Marathon, which included going through the tunnel from Canada to the US, and running alongside some tall buildings. Her FR10 got totally lost in both cases, knocking several miles off the run.

    • So the maps and the track length are actually two separate things. There’s a line-item within the file that specifies how long the track should be, which helps mitigate issues where GPS lock might be bad, because it’s failed over to the footpod and/or wrist for pace/distance.

      There’s two examples of how it handles this. On Sunday when I went through that long tunnel it ‘cleanly’ dropped satellite and found it at the end of the tunnel. It simply drew a straight line between the two points on the map.

      Meanwhile, last night, it wasn’t quite as clean below the building. It had reduced accuracy and stuck a few points out in the water a hundred meters away randomly.

      However, what’s notable is that in both cases if you were to look at my pace graphs, everything looks ‘normal’, because it’s using that instead.

  131. Sonja

    Hi Ray,

    Thanks for the great in depth review! I wonder if there is a chance that back to start will be an update in the future for the 620? I do use this function sometimes on my phone (current running device), so it would be usefull.

  132. matt

    Just curious, has anyone who pre-ordered from any retailer gotten a shipping notice at all?

  133. Mike S.


    Thanks for all your work on these reviews. It’s very useful and much appreciated.

    Q. Do you think that with a future update the internal accelerometer will become more accurate so that a footpod isn’t needed? Or will a footpod always be the most accurate? I like the idea of just having the watch and HRM.

    On another topic, do you plan to review running apps for the iPhone such as Run Meter or Runkeeper? I know they are no substitute for a watch but they may be good enough for casual runners on a budget.

    Thanks again!

    • I suspect over time we’ll see improvements in the technology, like any other. At the same time, some of it will be dependent on running style. Perhaps my style is just dorked up enough that it throws it off.

      Ultimately, the footpod continues to be the most accurate method indoors (scary accurate as seen above).

      I generally don’t review apps as stand alone reviews, but sometimes as part of other reviews. For example, later this week you’ll see a Magellan Echo review, and in that I talk to a handful of apps there because that’s part of the unit.

      The challenge with app reviews is that the software changes so quickly that it’s often out of date just a week later. Any review I post they’ll immediately fix those issues. Then they’ll ask for a correction (and get all annoyed if/when I don’t). And then those that I don’t review (approximately 1,000 others) e-mail me with being annoyed I didn’t review them instead. I’ve found app developers tend to be the most persistent lot asking for reviews. Rinse, repeat… This cycle continues endlessly…

      That said, here’s a list of the apps I still tend to use: link to dcrainmaker.com

  134. ekutter

    I’m not sure which is more impressive with your little pace video, that it kept that consistent a pace or that you kept that consistent a pace while looking down and holding a camera.

  135. Claude

    I had a lot if issues with the 610 charger. The contacts are spring-loaded on both the cradle and the watch. Some springs got oxidized and charging was an adventure each time.

    How are the contacts on the 620? Are they spring-loaded? If so, on both the watch and the cradle ?

    From looking at the picture, it looks like just the cradle has spring loaded contacts. The watch contacts seem flat. This would be good since the watch could be washed to remove dirt, and salt from sweat, while the cradle would remain dry and clean.

  136. David Stopher

    Hi Ray…. super write-up. I’m interested in the 620 though question the value of the Recovery Advisor because as the unit has no cycling capability, if I go ride with my 810 (and therefore don’t collect the data AS WELL as a ride on the 620) then the Recovery Advisor will not be able to provide accurate feedback….. (Someone may have raised this already but I haven’t had time to read all of your feedback yet)…… similar with swimming (triathlete in training).

    As an aside, this has always bothered me about the 910XT as the TE measurement is running only, thereby for me making it also less interesting and useful a measure.


    Thank you, David

    • Correct, it won’t capture that. I suspect over time we’ll see better integration with the devices via GC. Right now the different devices are all little silos. The WiFi and other BT uploads starts to create a backchannel to keep things in-sync across the devices. I think we’ll see some improvements here over time as Garmin continues to expand their product categories.

    • Gabriel

      TE also works for the bike if I remember correctly, but only when paired with a powermeter.

  137. JPT

    Great review. Wife and I both doing marathon next year, wandering if the unit is compadible for two separate training propograms to be running concurrently. Ie: wife runs in the morning on her program, I run in the arvo on my program.

    • Actually, you can do it (I just tried it). You can add multiple training plans to the Calendar, and then the workouts will simply show up on the unit (multiple workouts for a given day).

  138. Stu

    Being a very new runner (1yr). I’ve quickly learned that if you want to really push yourself to new levels, then you’ve got to learn. And I must say that I have been blessed to have found your site, because I am learning boats loads of great information and I’m learning that, (holy cow), I got a lot more to learn; but that’s exciting to me. I’ve obviously never owned a gps watch before, but like many of your followers I am waiting (like a child, the night before Christmas) to get my fr620. My question is this,(one of a million), once you complete a run and save it. Will the HM keep showing your heart rate and will the watch continue to show your current speed, as you are cooling down (walking). I usually like to walk for a bit after a run, and wondered if the watch would still be spewing forth data?
    Thanks, again for dedicating a great deal of your time to help all of us out,

    • Thanks Stu!

      Yes, you can continue to show those metrics post-run. It’ll basically go into a mode where the timer isn’t running/recording, but you can switch back to seeing any metric you’d like from your regular screens. Same level of detail as while running, just, not recording.


  139. rob leslie

    Greetings and first off thank you DC for the reviews and keeping up on everything. It’s been helpful beyond compare.

    I selected the 620 for two reasons, wifi connectivity and more over Garmin assured that this is better fitting than the 405 (which I had to put on the Velcro strap). I also wear a nike GPS but am on the very last set of holes and after 13.1 get’s a bit tight.

    Shipping to my knowledge with RRS should be ‘by Monday’ – originally I ordered 10/1 I will update if as I can.
    best to all

  140. Flo

    great review!
    now for triathlon I use my 610, but the 620 can not support the cadence/ speed captor, so I have to buy a 910XT… Any idea when the new 920xt will be available?

  141. Rob

    Anyone know if Costco Will be carrying this? They currently have the 610.

    • ekutter

      Not likely. The only Garmin watches I have seen at Costco are those nearing the end of their lives when they can give good discounts. ie the 610.

  142. Raymond_B

    Ray, does Auto Pause work with a workout loaded? I see where you illustrated why Auto Lap does not, but I really hope Auto Pause does. Comes in handy on long runs.

    • Hmm, I don’t know offhand (I’m not a big fan of Auto-Pause, I tend to get myself all tangled up in it – it’s a me issue, not an it issue). I’ll give it a shot and report back.

  143. Sarah C.

    Thank you for this and for all the incredibly detailed reviews you do here. This is one of the few blogs I read where I actually hope you’re making some money from what you do – this is so much work and so helpful to readers! Now if only I had $400 lying around to buy myself this sweet watch!

  144. Thomas

    Awesome guide
    can you configure the color of the hour minutes seconds on the watch.
    like blue hour black minutes red second’s.

  145. Gert


    Thank you for a great blogg!
    Would you recommend this Garmin for cross country skiing also?

    • You could definitely do so. I know many people that use Garmin watches for cross-country skiing. You could just change the display to more speed-based metrics and then be good.

    • Ellen

      But won’t cross country skiing (or cycling, or..) still record in “running mode” at the 620, so all “personal best” will be all messed up by using the watch for different activities (e.g. running, skiing, aerobics/fitness and cycling)?

      Really curious about this!

  146. Garmin updated the cadence on the individual runs, but they are not yet updated in the reports. Hopefully they will get around to that.

  147. James

    Reading all of your reviews and tons of comments. I am debating on the 220, 620 or suunto ambit 2s. I run primarily trails in the summer and roads during the winter. I race mostly trails in Michigan. I plan on doing my first 50 miler in 2014 but at this point planning on doing one and going back to mainly marathons or 50k’s.
    If you had to choose, which one would you go with?
    I am interested in learning zone training
    Cadence, pace, lap time, distance and mostly reliability.
    Thank you for all your work and input.

    • That’s tough. It depends a lot on how much of the advanced features you plan to use, and whether or not elevation is of importance (non are barometric, but I’ve seen really good accuracy with Suunto’s GPS-based altimeter data).

      Depending on your time for the 50-miler, you might run up against battery issues with the FR220/FR620. You’d potentially find some of those same issues with the Ambit 2s, but you can control the GPS rate a bit and squeak by.

  148. Caferey

    Excellent review as always.

    The recovery time is a great idea, but I can´t understand how recovery check actually works. In the photo it says “Fair” does this mean your heart rate is back down to normal quite quickly? Or is there more to it than that?

  149. Dwight Cornwell

    Any chance you could do a comparison on foot contact time & cadence between the garmin 620, scribelabs footpad, and Sensoria Smart Sock Fitness Tracker. It would be great to see which one provided the most accurate results. The current watch displays for cadence only provide whole numbers. There is a big difference between 96.1 and 96.9 for cadence.

    You provide a great service! Sport benefits greatly from your objective reviews!! Thanks so much.

  150. Rick

    Well the Garmin Connect app has gone live in the itunes app store. Can’t wait to test this out!

  151. Rob

    So no one asked the question about the 610 issue of reverse charging. Has this been addressed/fixed in the 620?

    I still have the metal backed 610 and fight with the charging of it.

    Also, does the clock function display in military time?

    • The clock can be switched to 24hr time, it’s within the settings.

      As for reverse charging, I’ve not seen any issues with it here at this point. But then, I also don’t see it on my FR610 either (though, I’ve certainly heard of folks who have).

    • Mike P

      Just to add a (very) small sample on the reverse/not charging issues: I’ve got a metal back FR610 from one of the first production batches having the same bad experience (getting worse); also am using a quite recent plastic back FR610, which does not show any problems – even with the same charging cradle.

      So I’m quite confident the FR620 (can’t wait to get mine) should be fine here.

  152. Rob

    I wound up ordering from RoadRunner Sports, I’m a VIP member and saved 10%. they are claiming it will ship on Friday the 8th.

    • dcv2002apv2005

      I wouldn’t hold my breath….

      It’s so nice to see on twitter all of those lovely Europeans getting their first runs in with their 620’s. I think Garmin sent their entire US allotment to the NYC Marathon expo.

    • dcv2002apv2005

      RRS updated shipping date to 11/18. Not sure if this includes pre orders. I don’t think they have any clue when they’re getting the watches.

    • Rob

      Looks Like RRS is now claiming a December deliver. I called and my pre-order is scheduled to ship today. Fingers crossed.

    • dcv2002apv2005

      Rob, has your order status online changed from anything else but “Processing”.

    • Rob

      Unfortunately, not yet. The woman on the phone told me “it’s still early, but my pre-order will go out today”

    • matt

      just told from RRS 11/15 at the earliest… and i was told that i was the 2nd to preorder the watch:

      Trevor: I’ll check the status now as we are told the date got moved back to 11/15 and 12/6 as we are waiting on Garmin to deliver.
      me: ok
      Trevor: Looks like your scheduled ship date is now that of 11/15.

    • Rob

      I just called again and was told the same thing, Nov/Dec which is completely different than I was told before. Wish they would get their heads out of their ***

    • Nate Thompson

      Was just told that my order for the white/orange model has been pushed back to 12/6. Still trying to figure out if I can switch to the black/blue and if they expect it to ship any sooner.

  153. Marko

    I see that many of you is planning to get a brand new FR 620 … well, I’m interested in buying a used FR 210 … if anyone is selling, please let me know on mkobal -at- gmail.com

  154. Josh

    Ray, Can you get any updated shipping info from Clever Training? I’m happy to wait a bit since it supports this site but would be disappointing if it’s a few weeks behind RRS.

    • I talked to them earlier this morning about it. They’re left with generally non-useful information from Garmin on shipping timelines, or specifically, how many units they’re getting. Other retailers are getting the same.

      Ultimately, everything I saw in the previous 1,000+ comment post regarding dates from RRS is that they’ve always promised basically + 2-4 days from today. I’ll tell you straight up that’s just not realistic (for anyone). Unless they’ve only managed to sell less than 1-2 dozen in the last 6 weeks (which seems unlikely, and based on what I’ve heard – is also unlikely).

    • cdusie

      I don’t know how shipping from Clever Training or other online retailers relates to how Garmin itself sells online, but link to buy.garmin.com indicates that the 620 will be “avaiable for purchase soon” and lists “processing times” of 3 – 5 weeks for black/blue with and without HRM and white/orange with HRM and 5 -8 weeks for white/orange without HRM.

    • I just got an email from CT that states, “,,,We are expecting our first shipment from Garmin at the end of next week…”. Sounds like they are in no better shape than any other Garmin retailer. I can’t say that I’m terribly happy that Garmin released at NYC, and now it appears they are in the chain in at least a part of Europe, but they still aren’t shipping in the USA. With that being said, if you move your order to another company, you risk being too low on the list to make it from the first allotment.

    • Paul

      RRS just told me the 15th now. 4th date they have given. Grrr.

  155. YCP

    HI, urgent to ask that if products from clever training are with international warranty? Thanks.

    • It’s tricky. Speaking generally (across the board), Garmin tends to honor warranties across borders fairly well.

      The one notable exception is Brazil, which isn’t really a Garmin-specific thing, but rather a Brazil-specific import-nightmare-thing facing every international company that operates there.

  156. Arlene

    Thanks for another great review. Will the new HRM be able to measure walking? Specifically for those of us who like to run/walk longer distances? As an example, if I’m on a treadmill and I run 4 minutes, walk 1 minute repeatedly, would you advise just using a footpod? Also, are there any new instruction for calibrating the watch to a footpod, or is it automatic?

    • No, they specifically note on their site that the HRM-Run doesn’t do a good job with walking.

      As for the internal acceletomer in the watch itself – I didn’t test it at walking speeds. But I can put it on my list for treadmills this weekend.

      For calibration, you’ll just go for a run outside with the GPS to get it calibrated.

  157. Stu

    Based on your analysis thus far with the 620, do you recommend trusting the internal acceletomer when using indoors or should the foot pod be used. I feel like I’m hearing contradictions on this subject. If the foot pod is the best choice, then it makes no sense to me, why garmin would have added an inferior tool to their latest product.

  158. Stu

    I just re-read your review concerning the acceletomer. It looks like the answer to my previous question is yes and no. I always wondered what it would feel like to be a politician, now I know . Ha!

    • I’m non-committal on it for a few reasons.

      1) It kept good pace at my normal running pace (7-7:30/mile). Really good pace, like, within 1-2/s mile type good.

      2) But, it fell apart beyond that (i.e. 6:00/mile or 10:00/mile).

      3) The problem is, I don’t know if that’s a ‘me’ thing (i.e. bad form or something), or a watch thing. I saw the same thing on the TomTom unit, so it’s possible it’s a me thing. It’s notable that nobody from either company has circled back to me on this point to refute it and/or discuss more in detail (or, to try and understand why it’s doing what it’s doing). That’s why I’d really like to see other peoples data and their thoughts/experiences with it.

      4) Thus, it actually works pretty well for me in tunnels because I tend not to run at 10:00/mile, nor at 5:30/mile through tunnels. And, even if I did go say 6:00/mile, most of my local tunnels are short enough that it’snot a big deal. But I wouldn’t use it for a full-blown treadmill workout at this time.

  159. R Peter

    Super review as always. A Garmin rep has recently advised me that you should not be wearing these watches as an all day watch due to the prohibition 65 California notice and the potential risks involved. Is this, in you opinion, a load of codswollop and legal hype or have you heard anything to differ?



  160. Caferey

    For us recreational runners that don´t have a professional running coach, is the Running Dynamics much use apart from giving us nice graphs to look at? Does it make a difference, for example if my ground contact time is millisecond longer one day compared to another?

    I understand for an Elite or Semi Elite runner this could be useful, but for us mere mortals who don´t run sub 33.00 for 10K or marathons under 2.35 is it much use?

    • I think it’s a bit too soon to make that call. Meaning, at this point there’s simply no information on what to do with the data, nor how to train with it. Fast forward to perhaps next spring, maybe? I know my coach is looking at it, but right now just in ‘read’ mode. Just starting to understand how things interrelate with other metrics he has about my runs (as well as The Girl’s). But doesn’t plan any training changes at this point.

  161. Jon

    The comprehensiveness, detail and quality of your reviews never fail to impress me. If I hadn’t already got a 610, I’m sure I’d be lusting after a 620.

  162. Harmless Harm

    Ray, first of all compliments for your review, high quality as always.
    Opinions vary, I believe Garmin has put the miniaturization to the extreme and has developed firmware/features almost to the max. So your statement “most advanced GPS watch” could be correct, looking from GPS form factor perspective.
    My problem is that there are even more dependencies created to chest strap, not only required for HR, also for running dynamics. To me this is wrong trend, being market leader, and you as expert reviewer, I would expect Garmin’s innovation drives into different direction, and integrate GPS/HR/rich-feature-set into one device.
    Another comment, to my opinion you have failed to be complete under “navigation”, you could have mentioned Suunto as alternative; only listing Garmin line-up, could give impression you are Garmin biased. You must have realized you have many followers, and people base their decisions on your reviews.
    As many commented before, the looks of the watch wont drive me to wear it as daily watch.
    So despite many others I am not running to the shops yet. But I might do later after all.
    Thanks for reading, and keep up the good work!

    • I think you’ll see a bit of divergence for a while on HR. If we fast forward to next year, I’d be surprised to see any new running-specific watches come out that aren’t with the optical HR form factor. At least that’s the trend I’m hearing.

      I’ve been meaning to get up some last little tidbits of the ANT+ Symposium talking about this, it’s just been backlogged behind all these reviews.

      As for the divergence part, I think you’ll see the trend go towards optical HR for all units, but then other accessories that give more data for those that want it.

      As for Suunto, it’s a valid point. I had planned to put that in there, and was surprised when you said it wasn’t there. I’ve fixed that. I would note though that the feature-sets are very different though for the pure-runner. I’d point Ultra/Triathletes/”navigators” in the direction of the Ambit 2/2s over the FR220/FR620, but I’d point pure road runners in the direction of the FR220/FR620 over the Ambit 2/2s.

  163. J.Griffin

    Are the side buttons on the 620, metal or plastic? They look metal. I know on the 220 they are plastic.

    • Taping a key against the FR220 results in a dull tap, taping a key against the FR620 buttons results in a ding/clink. Thus, I surmise metal – but I could be wrong.

  164. Jap Jongedijk

    The 620 and 220 hit the stores in the Netherlands yesterday. Picked a 620 up today well in time to download the training plan for the Paris marathon. Really liked it at my first run but must say that it was not easy to read the screen at full speed when it is showing 4 metrics at the same time. I guess it takes some time to get used to after running with the Nikeplus watch.

    Thanks for the great review. It helped me decide on this expensive but worthwhile purchase!

    • Try 3 data fields instead. There’s a world of difference in text size between four fields and 3 fields. See ya in Paris!

    • Jap Jongedijk

      It may be a coincidence but after upgrading the firmware to 2.3, I ran a second time this morning doing pretty much the same lap as yesterday. Unfortunately the GPS and pace were way off at times (I am sure I did not run in a canal at 3.30m/km). Anyone else that has the same experience?

    • Just out of curiosity, I’m assuming you waited for GPS signal before starting, right?

      (I only ask because I’ve found an oddly disturbing number of people don’t wait).

    • Jap Jongedijk

      I actually did and it took me a little longer than I was hoping for at 6.15am. I have also e-mailed Garmin to see if they know anything. What happened is similar but less severe to what I sometimes have when I used my iphone for GPS although it never happened with my Nike watch during similar laps.

    • rosko

      Good luck with getting a reply Jap, I wrote 4 emails to Garmin regarding my GPS accuracy on my 410 & never got a reply.

    • Jap Jongedijk

      GPS was pretty accurate today during the race, so maybe just a one time thing (although the area of the race had less tall buildings than my training area). Let’s see how it develops.

      By the way, Garmin e-mailed me back the same day with some follow up questions, but admittedly I have not yet heard from them since.

  165. Ann

    Your reviews are fantastic! Thanks for all the work you do. After ~much~ hemming and hawing I finally decided on the Suunto2 S (white) which I ordered from Clever Training. I hope I love it…this review is making me second guess (again)!! I wish The Girl didn’t like this one so much. 🙂

  166. Lars Ejaas

    Hi Ray

    Thanks for the review – I am truly amazed of how thorough your reviews always are!

    I currently run with the Garmin FR 610 and a footpod. One big issue using the FR 610 without a footpot is, that it reacts fairly slow to surges in pace. This makes a big difference when using short sprint type efforts – without the footpod the Garmin won’t measuring top speed because of the short time actually running at full speed. Would you still recommend a footpod to get faster reaction to pace changes – or is the build in accelerometer just as good?



    • Ultimately there’s always a bit of a tradeoff between instant-pace reaction times and pace stability. Obviously, ideally Garmin would be able to give you smoothing options (just like the cycling side with power smoothing). In the case of power meters, if you have no smoothing the data is incredibly jumpy (I’d say useless), but, some people like that.

      Ultimately, if you’re doing short sprints (sub-15″), I wouldn’t be using GPS pace to pace those (a track is better there). I do 30″ sprints however and have had no problems pacing those with the FR220/FR620 (I’m running about 4:45-5:00/mile for those and it reacts fast enough).

  167. Brian

    Wow, this is a nice little device.

    I am torn between it and the Suunto Ambit and Garmin Fenix.

    Suunto Ambit
    Loaded with features, and a virtual Fenix clone, but departs the Garmin “universe” which I’m hesitant about.

    Garmin Fenix
    Seems to have all the features of the 620, with the addition of the Tempe and longer battery ability (for ultras)

    Garmin 620
    Really intrigued by the metrics captured by the HR Run HRM.

    I wish they’d either add the tempe to the 620 (and 60sec recording), or allow the Fenix to read the HRM metrics.

    Anything I’m missing in this evaluation?

    • Jr.

      I’m just like you. Garmin 620 is an amazing device, but for me it lacks some mountain feature that has the Fenix and Ambit.

      Moreover, Garmin Fenix has been a year, is it possible to present his replacement soon with some 620 features?
      Regarding Ambit, I think is mid-cycle. In some forum I read that there will Ambit 3 for the spring, you know some of this Ray?
      Do you think that is a good time to buy ambit 2/2s? probably the new model brings very interesting features in terms of connectivity, but … is not much time for that.

      Really thanks for another great and exhaustive review !!!

    • I guess the biggest question is are you a runner or a triathlete (or something else weird). If a runner, then, are you doing road running or trail running – and for how long?

    • Jr.

      Trail runner (40-50 km max), some bike and hiking about 10-12 hours. Surely the Suunto Ambit 2S would go well while the battery is in the limit and has features more in line with trail running than the Garmin 620.

      Thanks for taking the time !!

  168. Chris


    I assume that Garmin will release an Android app at some point – Will the phone require a BT4.0 chipset to be compatible with the 620?

    Mine is a few years old, so wondered if there is any backwards compatability.



  169. Greg


    If I were to wait 1 year, in your opinion, would I be able to purchase a Garmin watch that contains the optical HR? I do not see myself paying $450 this year, then $450 next year if they come out with a watch similar to the 620, but with the optical HR…I’m not a huge fan of running with a HR strap.


    • I don’t see Garmin releasing another high-end running-specific watch in the next 1-year.

      I do however see plenty of optical-HR watches likely to come out next year, whether or not they are “high end” will depend a lot of execution. For example, price-wise Adidas’s unit is “high-end”, but functionality wise not so much.

  170. Davis

    Does this have a basic stopwatch/timer? ie if you wanted to use it to time a simple gym workout? Or do you have to always use GPS?

  171. J

    Thanks for reviews.
    1. Is there any advantage of 1sec over smart recording when doing track running.
    2. Does pressing manual lap show split seconds (say to one or two decimal places) if using the watch for sprints as stop watch. It only shows seconds on my 210 until you go to history.
    3. Do you think they will ever introduce a “split” field to go with the “lap” data field. This would be useful.

    • 1) Especially in track running 1s is important. Smart Recording is every 4-7 seconds typically. So that’s a lot of lost data points on the curves.
      2) The lap shows splits to .1 (i.e. 10.1 as in 10.1s).
      3) I think if they release the customization of lap banner piece, you’ll probably be able to work that up.

  172. Starks

    Thanks for another great review.

    As an ultrarunner I’m not interested in a watch with 10hrs of battery and no navigation features. But the HR strap is interesting. Do you know if it can be purchased standalone and if so, can it be used with 310XT? (I understand that the Running Dynamics metrics won’t be available, just asking about HR data). Thank you.

    • rosko

      I am also wondering if the supposedly improved HR strap is available separate & at what cost. I’ve had no end of issues with erratic data using HR straps. I have tried all sorts & thrown all sorts of money at trying to get the HR monitors to work right.

    • The HR strap is available separately for $99, and is backwards compatible with ANY ANT+ enabled watch (Garmin or otherwise). During the review cycle I’ve used it with a host of devices, from the Garmin FR210 to the FR610 to the Edge 800/810, and many more I’ve forgotten.

      As noted, it will not enable any device except the FR620 to display/record Running Dynamics information however.

      There’s links at the end of the review to support the site and pickup the strap that way. 🙂

    • rosko

      Thanks Ray I guess i missed that. Well its £80 in the uk :- ( & not available till March next year, unfortunately at that price it is not an option. I’m wondering if the other gray Garmin strap at half the price is the same just without the extra sensors. Or if possible to purchase just the strap or heart monitor part separate? I guess Garmin have not been specific in detail in what they have actually done to improve the new soft strap & monitor, whether its resistance to static, improving the contacts on the stap itself or something else who knows.

  173. Kev Dwyer

    Ray, What Starks said.
    I have a newly diagnosed medical condition and my strategy is to train by heart rate to ensure I do not overdo things.
    I experience the erratic readings from time to time and have tried all the remedies, ( Polar straps, gel, etc ) What is really frustrating is that the darned thing will behave itself for a while and then ” throw a wobbly” for no apparent reason.
    I wondered if the new HR strap / module might solve this if used with my 610.
    As ever,
    Thanks for the work you put in for us in the fitness community, it is much appreciated

    • Harmless Harm

      If HR is your single important concern, you could consider a wrist based optical sensor, like the MIO Alpha. If you want GPS and all, you could consider the soon to be reviewed Adidas run smart.

    • Optical is good, assuming it works for you (some people with super-small wrists have issues with the Alpha). The other challenge with the Alpha is that they no longer make the ANT+ variant.

      That said, I continue to be impressed with the new HRM-Run from a smoothness standpoint.

  174. Paco

    is there any technical reason why Garmin will not update 910xt to pair with HRM-Run and get the Running dynamics fields (cadence, vertical oascilation…..)? or it is just a marketing reason to present in the future the 920xt HRM-Run compatible and force to a change instead of just purchase the HRM-Run?

  175. Rick B.

    I spoke with Clever Training this morning (Friday) and they said they’re expecting the first Forerunner 620 shipments from Garmin at the end of next week, followed by shipments every week after that. Clever says the order I placed on Oct. 1 should be filled in the first batch of 620s they receive, and they will be filling orders every week once the units start arriving from Garmin. I have ordered from Clever Training in the past, and they have always met or exceeded my expectations.

  176. Rick B.

    Adding to my previous comment (#368) I should have said Clever Training expects my Oct. 1 order to be filled in the first or second shipment they receive. They’re doing the best they can in circumstances beyond their control. Meanwhile, I am selling my Forerunner 305 to someone who anxiously awaits it…

    • David D

      Keep that 305! Garmin started taking away features after that one! You can even upload routes to it! Let me know how much you’re selling it for.

    • Eli

      The 305 was replaced by the 310xt which was replaced by the 910xt so they haven’t taken features away yet (910xt still does breadcrumb routes), just made more dedicated running watches that lack some features. I’d personally wait for the 910xt replacment

  177. Rick B.

    Hi David,
    My 305 just returned from Garmin, completely refurbished, with the 60-day factory warranty (about 30 days remaining).
    I am selling it with the charger, a bike mount, and extra-long USB cable. Please drop me an email at rbarrett328@gmail.com if you are interested. Thanks.

  178. Montana Steve

    Has anyone actually received a 620, other than those at the NY Marathon?

    From where?


  179. J.Griffin

    Well I’ve never been around for the launch of any new Garmin FR/XT watch, so I’m just curious are all the delays, shortages etc. a Garmin common practice/pattern? I’m not an Apple iPhone person, but this launch seems way worst than any iPhone product. Especially since there simply appears to be major lack of supply for the demand. Unless one ordered early on, it is looking like there a slim snowball chance that you’ll see a new 620/220 in your hands before the end of 2013.

    I like Garmin products & own several. However this latest release only makes me want to remain somewhat patience to see, if any other companies can come up with better mouse-trap, while I’m waiting for the supplies to hit. Just saying.

    • It’s pretty common. Though, they were caught off-guard by how popular the unit would (by an incredibly high exponential factor). A factor big enough you’ll likely see mention of it in their next quarter earnings release call.

      Ultimately Garmin stated an initial availability date of ‘Fall 2013’ which goes to Dec 22nd. I suspect that once we get into mid/late-November things will clear up a bit.

      I would not expect any new units actually available before early-mid Spring 2014 (from any other companies). You’ll probably see announcements at CES (first week of January) from other companies, but not likely availability.

  180. marco

    hi ray, thanx for what you do for the fitness community. you’re our messiah 🙂 do you know the european (italy, for example) release date for the FR 620?

  181. gd

    Thanks Ray for this great review and for the 10% with Clever Training.
    I ordered the FR620 a month ago, hoping I will have it soon 🙂

  182. Serge

    Hi Ray,
    Excellent Jonas usual. One question about wifi : i,ve a iPhone 4 so no BT smart and would like to upload from the 620. Is creating a hotspot the solution ? Did you test it ?



  183. Daeve

    Cheers for the great review Ray!

    One issue I found with the 620 when it arrived 2 days ago was that it wouldn’t detect my WiFi on the Garmin express fit app (either Windows or OSX on several different computers) – after struggling with changing and rebooting my routers settings/802.11 protocols/security WEP/WPA/WPA2 etc.. over 2 nights and still no luck I was about to send the forerunner 620 back… but then I had a moment of clarity as I remembered something I once read.

    Solution – It appears the 620/Garmin Express Fit app doesn’t detect WiFi channels above 11 – so the perfectly good channels 12 and 13 I use to avoid interference from the neighbours WiFi (over here in the UK) doesn’t get picked up. After I changed to a lower channel it is detected fine. I suspect as N.America can only use WiFi channels up to 11 (unlike the rest of the world which can use 12, 13 just fine), Garmin didn’t realise this would be an issue. Very frustrating though glad to have it sorted now – the watch is great!

  184. Anon

    Rainmaker (or anyone else who has theirs): I would like to cover the entire glass face with a screen protector. How many mm is the diameter of the 620 watch face please?

  185. None

    Great detailed review as always, thanks for that.

    Did my first run with my 620 this morning. Strangely it recorded a distance 10% higher than I would have expected based on having done the run numerous times before (with 910XT). In addition to distance the lap paces were all out by the same factor – so whilst it was nice to be rewarded with loads of PRs it was a little disappointing to think the new watch is inaccurate.

    The differences remained once uploaded to GC. As a test I also uploaded the file to Runkeeper which I believe recalculates based on track points from the tcx file – it reassessed my run down by 10% to the 5km I expected.

    One thing that I will test is to unpair from my old footpod. I had done that before heading out but didn’t enter any calibration factor so that may have thrown the 620 out (however I thought it only used the footpod for instant pace not distance).

    • I’ve been trying to get a bit of clarification on order of precedence for both footpod/HRM-Run/internal accelerometer. That might shed some light here.

    • None

      I experimented by turning off foot pod this afternoon and had perfect measurement against my 910 which was reassuring.

      Didn’t have the HRM-RUN with me though but hopefully that wouldn’t mess anything up.

  186. marco

    does anyone know if the 620 is really available at sweatshop.co.uk? thanx

    • Octonaut

      I ordered from sweatshop on Weds, only to have them cancel it Thursday morning due to lack of stock. By the afternoon, some called me to advise they had limited stock just come in, which I had to re-order before they released in public.

      In short, they do have/have had it, but clearly it is in short supply.

      The 10% off code I had worked though. Now to sort the wi-fi…